LaHood: Bring Toyotas to dealers

Posted February 3, 2010 11:06 a.m. EST
Updated February 3, 2010 1:47 p.m. EST

— Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told owners of recalled Toyotas to "stop driving" their vehicles, but later said he misspoke and meant that owners should take the cars back to the dealer to have problems fixed.

LaHood spoke before a House subcommittee one day after the automaker reported disappointing January sales and an investigation widened into sticky gas pedals that prompted a massive recall.

“What I said in there was obviously a misstatement,” LaHood said.

Department of Transportation spokeswoman Olivia Alair said the DOT was advising owners to contact their local dealerships to arrange for fixes as soon as possible.

Toyota's most recent recall in the United States affects 2.3 million vehicles over the potential for sticking gas pedals.

LaHood told reporters earlier in the day that Toyota owners should contact their dealer immediately and "exercise caution until repairs can be made."

LaHood also said he plans to speak with Toyota President Akio Toyoda about the automaker's spate of recalls in the United States. LaHood confirms that the government is investigating potential electrical problems in Toyota vehicles.

The secretary said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will conduct an investigation into electronic throttle control systems and potential electromagnetic interference in the nation's fleet of vehicles.