U.S. to investigate Toyota Corolla steering problems

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The U.S. will open an investigation Thursday to probe possible steering issues on about 500,000 Toyota Corollas.

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official, about 363,000 Corollas from model year 2009 and 136,000 from 2010 could be affected.

NHTSA will formally announce the probe Thursday, the official said. As of last week, NHTSA said it had collected more than 80 complaints about steering problems in 2009 and 2010 Corollas.

Many of the complaints involve the car drifting at high speeds. Other owners complain of other issues including steering wheel vibrations or exaggerated motions from small steering inputs.

On Thursday morning, a Toyota rep said the company is "aware of [the] complaints ... and are actively investigating the issue. While we have not received official notification from NHTSA, we will certainly cooperate fully with any NHTSA investigation. We're committed to being responsive to our customers."

The Corolla is Toyota's second most popular model, after the Camry.

It's the latest in a spate of recent problems for Toyota (TM), which has recalled more than 8.1 million vehicles worldwide for issues including sticking accelerator pedals.

On Tuesday NHTSA demanded documents from Toyota to determine if the automaker conducted its recent recalls in a timely manner. Also, Toyota announced it would suspend production at two U.S. plants.

The automaker's reputation has felt the blow, as sales lag following the massive recalls.

Earlier Wednesday, in Japan, Toyota President Akio Toyoda addressed reporters for the third time in two weeks. He pledged tighter safety controls but said he will not appear before U.S. lawmakers at hearings to be held next week.

The Associated Press reported that at the Japan press conference, Toyota's executive in charge of quality controls said it was still uncertain if a Corolla recall was necessary, but that it was an option the company was considering. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,100.69 -12.85 -0.08%
Nasdaq 4,474.11 18.09 0.41%
S&P 500 1,987.21 3.68 0.19%
Treasuries 2.45 -0.01 -0.61%
Data as of 10:31am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 96.60 1.88 1.98%
Microsoft Corp 45.02 0.19 0.42%
Facebook Inc 70.37 1.10 1.59%
Xilinx Inc 40.38 -7.77 -16.14%
Juniper Networks Inc... 22.21 -2.61 -10.52%
Data as of 10:16am ET

Sections

Passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and Ecuadorian cocoa. From coast to coast, entrepreneurs are brewing craft beers that incorporate Latin flavors. More

Corporate inversions are on the rise. A U.S. company can greatly lower its tax bill by merging with a foreign firm and legally moving its headquarters abroad. Lawmakers from both parties are unhappy with the trend and want to change the rules. In the meantime, some are saying the move is unpatriotic. More

Ladar Levison, the guy behind Lavabit, is launching Dark Mail to encrypt emails so the NSA doesn't even know who's talking. More

Passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and Ecuadorian cocoa. From coast to coast, entrepreneurs are brewing craft beers that incorporate Latin flavors. More

Court documents show big support from Detroit employees and retirees for a turnaround plan that should help the city emerge quickly from bankruptcy. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.