Toyota Motor Corp will voluntarily recall about 50,000 Sequoia sport utility vehicles because a glitch in the stability system can cause unexpected acceleration problems, the company said on Wednesday.
Toyota said it had received no reports of accidents or injuries resulting from the software issue that has occurred in early 2003 model year SUVs at low speeds coming out of a stop, but owners have complained.
Some complaints alleged that vehicles were almost struck in traffic because of the accelerator response problems, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation begun in late 2008.
The stability system is designed to help control a vehicle if it loses front or rear-wheel traction in turns.
But Toyota said the system in Sequoias without the computer upgrade can, in limited cases, activate for a few seconds at low speeds -- about 9 miles per hour -- coming out of a stop. As a result, the SUV may not accelerate as quickly as the driver expects.
Toyota addressed the issue for later 2003 model year Sequoias on the production line.
The latest recall covers about 50,000 vehicles manufactured early in the year. Separately, Toyota is recalling about 1,500 2003 Sequoia's in Canada for the same reason.
The company said its decision on the Sequoia was consistent with efforts to respond more aggressively to owner complaints following the U.S. government's criticism of its handling of major Toyota and Lexus recalls in October of 2009 and this year over unintended acceleration.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether there are problems with electronic throttles in Toyota and Lexus vehicles and whether that issue could be related to unintended acceleration. Toyota said its throttle systems are sound, but is also investigating the matter.
Toyota said it would notify owners involved in the Sequoia recall by letter in late May. About half of the vehicles have already been serviced under warranty.
The action on the Sequoias follows a voluntary recall announced on April 19 involving 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460s sold in the United States and Canada to fix a rollover risk problem with stability software.
That issue was first flagged by engineers at Consumer Reports.
Toyota shares were down 0.2 percent at $76.87 in afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading.
(Reporting by John Crawley; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)