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Toyota: Recall before fix was best way

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Toyota: 'We've let you down'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Toyota official: A recall usually results in 20 percent drop in sales the first month
  • Toyota expects impact to be bigger in this case
  • Toyota recalls 2.3 million cars in United States, as many as 1.8 million in Europe
  • Toyota: Pedals in several models might become harder to press, slower to return

Nagoya, Japan (CNN) -- The financial impact of recalling millions of vehicles for a gas pedal flaw is expected to be significant for Toyota, but the automaker thinks it made the right call in announcing the pullback before it had a fix in place, an executive said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters, Executive Vice President Shinichi Sasaki also said electronic problems in the cars were not responsible for the defect in the gas pedals, as some have alleged.

Sasaki, who is in charge of quality control at Toyota Motor Corp., said a recall usually results in a 20 percent drop in sales in the first month before purchases pick back up again.

In this case, he expects the impact will be bigger.

Toyota recalled 2.3 million cars in the United States and as many as 1.8 million in Europe. The recall involves eight models, several of which are not sold in the United States.

Sasaki also said he did not think the company's rapid global expansion affected quality.

Toyota announced its recall on Friday, saying that the pedals in several models might become harder to press and slower to return when released. In the worst cases, they might become stuck in a partly depressed position.

On Monday, Toyota said it had developed a fix and is shipping the new parts to dealers.

The company risked confusing customers by announcing the recall before a fix, Sasaki said. But it was "the best way to go at the end of the day for the customer."

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The fix involves reinforcing the pedal assembly in a way that eliminates the excess friction that has caused the pedals to stick, the company said in a news release.

Toyota will begin contacting customers as early as this week to let them know when to bring in their vehicles for the fix. The automaker said it will cover all costs related to the repair, which will take about 30 minutes.

The recall in the United States affects Toyota's 2009-2010 RAV4, Corolla and Matrix; 2005-2010 Avalon; certain 2007-2010 Camrys; 2010 Highlander; 2007-2010 Tundra and the 2008-2010 Sequoia. The Camry Hybrid is not included in the recall.

CNN's Kyung Lah contributed to this report.