Despite a national recall of 2.3 million Toyota vehicles Tuesday, the new hybrid fleet of Toyota Camry patrol cars recently purchased by the City of Arkadelphia are here to stay.

Despite a national recall of 2.3 million Toyota vehicles Tuesday, the new hybrid fleet of Toyota Camry patrol cars recently purchased by the City of Arkadelphia are here to stay.
Why? Because all hybrid Camry models were not recalled.
City Manager Jimmy Bolt said Wednesday that the Arkadelphia Police Department will keep its fleet of 10 cars, and added that Police Chief Al Harris traveled to Little Rock to pick up the last of the vehicles.
“The dealer is still selling them,” Bolt said. Harris was working to verify what was reported in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette — that the hybrid models were OK for sale — was true. “In that article, the Camry hybrids were not recalled,” Bolt said.
The Associated Press reported late Tuesday that Toyota Motor Corp. announced it would halt sales of some of its top-selling models to fix gas pedals that could stick and cause unintended acceleration. Last week, Toyota issued a recall for the same eight models affecting 2.3 million vehicles.
Toyota is also suspending production at six North American car-assembly plants beginning the week of Feb. 1. It gave no date on when production could restart.
President Barack Obama’s administration said it pressed Toyota to protect consumers who own vehicles under recall and to stop building new cars with the problem.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told WGN Radio in Chicago that “the reason Toyota decided to do the recall and to stop manufacturing was because we asked them to.”
LaHood said the department urged the company to act and credited Toyota for going “a step above” by stopping production.
David Strickland, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told reporters in Washington that the Transportation Department had been in regular communication with Toyota about the recall. He said the company’s decision to stop selling the vehicles was “an aggressive one and one that is the legal and morally correct thing to do.”
“Toyota was complying with the law. They consulted with the agency. We informed them of the obligation and they complied,” Strickland said. Strickland wouldn’t address why Toyota failed to stop selling the vehicles five days earlier when it announced the recall.
The suspect parts are made by a U.S. supplier, but they are also found in its European-made vehicles, an official with the automaker said Wednesday. Toyota said it hasn’t decided what to do there.
The supplier is CTS Corp., based in Elkhart, Ind., and the problem part was manufactured at its plant in Ontario, Canada, according to a report Toyota handed to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week.
CTS has not replied to a request for comment sent earlier this week.
Toyota’s report says it first received reports in March 2007, of gas pedals being slow to come back in the Tundra pickup, and fixed the problem in February 2008.
Starting in December 2008, similar problems were reported in Europe with the Aygo and Yaris models. Toyota said it lengthened a part and changed the material to fix the problem, starting in August 2009.
The latest problem emerged in North America, culminating in the decision for the recall earlier this month, Toyota said in the report.
The timing of the recall and production suspension could not be worse for Toyota. Two years ago, the company beat out General Motors Co. to become the world’s largest automaker. Now just weeks into 2010, it is stopping some sales in its biggest market, the U.S., at a time when it desperately needs to sell cars here after reporting its first-ever annual loss last year.
The sales and production halt involves several best-selling U.S. models, including the Camry and Corolla sedans and the RAV 4 crossover, a blend of an SUV and a car. RAV 4’s sales surged last month.
In addition, the problem could spread to Europe, where a similar accelerator part is being used, said Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi. She declined to give the number of vehicles affected. The company was studying possible responses there, including a recall, she said.
Tuesday’s announcement follows a larger U.S. recall months earlier of 4.2 million vehicles because of problems with gas pedals becoming trapped under floor mats, causing sudden acceleration. That problem was the cause of several crashes, including some fatalities.
About 1.7 million vehicles fall under both recalls.
The auto company said the sales suspension wouldn’t affect Lexus or Scion vehicles. Toyota said the Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser and select Camry models, including all Camry hybrids, would remain for sale. Those vehicles contain gas pedals produced by a different North American supplier from the one whose parts are invovled in the current sales halt, Toyota has said.
Toyota sold more than 34,000 Camrys in December, making the midsize sedan America’s best-selling car. It commands 3.4 percent of the U.S. market and sales rose 38 percent from a year earlier. Sales of the Corolla and Matrix, a small sedan and a hatchback, totaled 34,220 last month, with 3.3 percent of the market and sales up nearly 55 percent from December of 2008.