Owners of the recalled Toyotas received a warning from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Wednesday to stop driving the vehicles and take them to a dealer for repairs, according to the Associated Press.
LaHood's warning came while he testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation. LaHood's advice to owners is to "stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it."
Afterward at a news conference, LaHood said his brusque remarks were "obviously a misstatement," reported the New York Times.
In a statement issued by the agency, LaHood said: "I want to encourage owners of any recalled Toyota models to contact their local dealer and get their vehicles fixed as soon as possible."
Toyota's recent recall affects 2.3 millions vehicles with the potential for sticking gas pedals.
LaHood confirmed Wednesday that the Transportation Department was considering a civil penalty against Toyota over the handling of the recalls.
Below is Toyota's reaction to Secretary LaHood's statement.
We appreciate Secretary LaHood's clarification of his remarks today about Toyota's recall for sticking accelerator pedals. We want to make sure our customers understand that this situation is rare and generally does not occur suddenly. In the rare instances where it does occur, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes.
Our message to Toyota owners is this - if you experience any issues with your accelerator pedal, please contact your dealer without delay. If you are not experiencing any issues with your pedal, we are confident that your vehicle is safe to drive.
Nothing is more important to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. Our entire organization of 172,000 North American employees and dealership personnel is working around the clock to fix the accelerator pedals for our customers.
Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.
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