Consumer Reports: Steer clear of recalled Toyotas

by Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Consumer Reports magazine has temporarily suspended its recommendations of eight Toyota models involved in a recent recall.

The automaker has halted sales 8 vehicle models until their gas pedals have been fixed so, magazine editors felt they could not continue to recommend them without a fix.

2008_toyota_rav4.03.jpg
Toyota Rav4 -- Recommendation suspended

"Although incidents of sudden acceleration are rare, we are taking this action because the vehicles have been identified as potentially unsafe without a fix yet being available to consumers, and in general our position is that you shouldn't compromise on safety," said Jim Guest, president of Consumer Reports' publisher, Consumer's Union, said in statement

The suspension temporarily puts Ford Motor Co. into the lead as the automaker with the most models recommended by Consumer Reports. Toyota had 27 models recommended by the magazine but, for the time being, at least, that's down to 15. Ford has 24.

This is almost certainly the first time a domestic manufacturer has led in Consumer Recommendations, however briefly, said Jake Fisher, senior automotive engineer with Consumer Reports.

In the auto industry, Consumer Reports recommendations are regarded as extremely important. Toyota has long led the industry with the number of its vehicles that have earned that recommendation, a metric that many industry executives follow as a measure of overall quality.

Consumer Reports bases its recommendations on reliability data from owners as well as the magazine's own performance tests.

Ordinarily when people look up one of the recommended Toyota models at ConsumerReports.org, on the magazine's Web site, they would see a red bar with "Recommended" and a check mark next to it.

Now, when someone looks up the Toyota Rav4 -- one of the eight models involved in the recall -- they will see "Recommendation suspended."

"We feel that, until this situation is fixed, people should look at another car," Fisher said.

New car shoppers might also simply want to wait until the "suspended" tag is removed, he said.

The suspended recommendation also serves as a warning to used car shoppers that they should avoid these cars until they are certain the car they are looking at his been repaired, Fisher said.

The eight models being recalled are the RAV4, Corolla, Matrix Avalon, Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia and Camry.

Toyota did could not immediately return a call seeking comment on Consumer Report's action. To top of page

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