When a manufacturer comes across a problem with a vehicle that is already on sale, they may issue a stop sale to their dealerships. This means that the dealerships are not allowed to sell those particular cars until a fix is developed and the manufacturer says that its okay. Today, Toyota issued such an order on 6 of their key models, including the Corolla, Tundra, Avalon, Camry, Sienna, and Tacoma. The order is on vehicles equipped with heated seats. The seat heaters themselves apparently do not conform to safety standards on burn rate. No fires or injuries have been reported, but buying a Corolla with seat heaters tomorrow might prove to be a problem.
No word has been given on a recall, and Lexus and Scion models do not appear to be affected. Vehicles will receive a new fabric that is more flame retardant. This stop sale can affect as many as 13% of all vehicles on lots and in route. Obviously, not selling cars for even a few days will definitely hurt the company’s February sales figures.
Conceivably, there will be a recall to get the problem fixed on vehicles currently in customers’ hands. However, Toyota has not discussed that publicly yet. News of the stop sale will surely get to owners and some may be concerned about their safety while driving the vehicle. We advise owners of affected vehicles (2013 and 2014 models) to give their dealerships a call and let them know. A solution is bound to come quickly, and the dealerships will be some of the first to know. If you are still concerned, avoid using the seat heater for a little while.
We will keep an eye on the situation, and if a recall issued, we will let you know. It should be noted that there are always production issues in items that are mass produced, like automobiles. Depending on how Toyota handles the situation will determine how much negativity will be brought on the brand. We hope that this issue is resolved shortly. It is quite cold across the country and many people are using and want to purchase seat heaters.