(WASHINGTON-AFP) – Japanese automaker Toyota on Thursday recalled 2.17 million vehicles to fix floor mats and carpets that could jam accelerator pedals, the latest in a spate of recalls to hit the firm.

The flaws affect some Lexus GS, RX and LX models as well as Toyota’s Highlander, 4Runner and RAV4s.

Toyota has now recalled more than 12 million vehicles worldwide since late 2009, battering its previously stellar reputation for safety.

Like most of those recalls, Thursday’s announcements were linked to “sticking” in accelerator pedals caused by jammed floor mats or carpets.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it had asked Toyota to carry out the latest recall, after a 10 month probe which ruled out problems with the vehicles’ electronic control systems.

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reviewed more than 400,000 pages of Toyota documents to determine whether the scope of its recalls for pedal entrapment was sufficient,” administrator David Strickland said in a statement.

‘As a result of the agency’s review, NHTSA asked Toyota to recall these additional vehicles, and now that the company has done so, our investigation is closed.”

But the matter is unlikely to be closed for consumers or the company, which is facing tough competition to regain its US market dominance and a rash of lawsuits over accidents allegedly related to the accelerator issue — including at least 89 fatalities.

In 2008 Toyota ended General Motors’ 77-year reign as the world’s largest automaker. But since then the Japanese giant has faced the impact of the economic crisis, recalls and recently a strong yen.

While net profit in the nine months to December quadrupled year-on-year on a post-crisis rebound, last year ended with Toyota losing market share to rivals in the United States — its second largest market by volume.

arb/pmh

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