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Toyota Recalls Sienna Minivans

Automaker to recall nearly 100,000 minivans from 2011 model year to replace a switch bracket on the brake lamp that could cause the brake lights to stay on.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday it will recall nearly 100,000 Sienna minivans from the 2011 model year to replace a switch bracket on the brake lamp that could cause the brake lights to stay on.

The Japanese automaker, which has grappled with several safety recalls during the past year, said a driver's foot could hit the switch bracket and deform it while applying the parking brake pedal. Toyota said it did not know of any accidents or injuries related to the issue.

The switch bracket is welded on to the left side of the brake pedal assembly. The brake lamp provides a signal to indicate that the brake pedal has been depressed and illuminates the brake lights.

Toyota has recalled more than 10 million vehicles in the past year to address a number of safety problems, including faulty gas pedals, floor mats that can trap accelerators, defective braking and stalling engines. The world's No. 1 automaker faces dozens of lawsuits in the U.S. from family members of people who were killed or injured in crashes connected to unintended acceleration.

In the Sienna recall, Toyota said the bracket problem could lead to the brake lights remaining on. If the bracket was significantly deformed, the service brake could become partially engaged, causing brake drag, noise and vibrations in the vehicle. The brakes could also wear down faster.

Toyota told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the recall potentially affected 94,126 vehicles, which were produced from Dec. 22, 2009, through Nov. 4, 2010. The company received its first report about a deformed bracket in December 2009, when the vehicle was in pre-mass production stage. Following additional reports, inspections and an investigation by the company, it decided to issue the recall.

Owners will be notified of the recall in mid-January 2011 and told how to minimize the potential of hitting the bracket. Replacement parts are expected to become available in late February and dealers will replace the bracket assembly at no charge.

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