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Toyota, Nissan issue recalls for safety

Toyota is recalling optional "all-weather" floor mats in 55,000 Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Camry passenger cars because the mat could interfere with the accelerator and lead to a crash, the company said Wednesday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a consumer advisory about the heavy-duty rubber floor mats, noting that if unsecured, the mat could move forward, trap the gas pedal and cause the vehicle to accelerate uncontrollably.

In a separate move, Nissan Motor Co. said it was recalling almost 420,000 sport utility vehicles because of possible corrosion in the tube through which motorists pump gasoline.

The recall involves Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 SUVs from the 1997-2001 model years. More than 370,000 of the vehicles under recall originally were sold or are currently registered in 22 "cold weather" states and the District of Columbia. Another 45,000 of the vehicles are in Canada.

In the Toyota recall, NHTSA urged drivers of other vehicles, including the Avalon and Prius, to check the driver-side floor mats to ensure they were properly installed. NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson said it was taking the step "because we believe potentially it is a very serious safety issue."

Toyota spokesman Bill Kwong said the automaker had received no complaints about the Avalon and Prius. In some cases, he said the floor mats - used to collect rain water, mud and snow - were stacked atop the original carpet mats and wedged up against the accelerator.

The vehicle has hooks on the floor that can secure only one mat at a time.

Toyota has received 22 complaints and learned of six accidents allegedly connected to the issue. Kwong said they did not know of any injuries linked to the mats.

The Japanese-based automaker plans to notify owners in early October and expects replacement mats to be available at dealerships by late November.

In a statement, Toyota advised owners to check regularly that their floor mats are secured properly and warned that "under no circumstances should more than one floor mat ever be used in the driver's seating position."

Nissan said its recall was prompted by an inadequate amount of coating on a bracket beside the fuel filler tube assembly. In states that use road salt during the winter, a mixture of snow, water and salt could cause corrosion on the bare metal part of the tube and allow fuel to leak.

Nissan spokesman Fred Standish said there had been no reports of fires or injuries.