Maserati Recalls 28,000 Cars Because Floor Mats Shouldn’t Drive Your Vehicle

Image courtesy of (paolo bonfanti)

If you’re one of the few lucky (we suppose) people who own a vehicle by Italian luxury carmaker Maserati, listen up: the company is recalling more than 28,000 Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans that can simply run away from drivers. 

Maserati announced this week that it would call back 28,235 model year 2014 to 2016 Quattroporte and Ghibli after discovering that the vehicles may be affected by unintended acceleration.

According to a notice [PDF] submitted with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Maserati began investigating the issue last year after receiving four reports of vehicles accelerating with no help from a driver.

The company says the unintended acceleration was found to be a result of the driver-side floor mat which was not properly attached and/or had broken anchors, which caused the mat to consequently slide forward toward the accelerator pedal.

When this occurs, the mat can become trapped between the accelerator and the vehicle’s carpet, resulting in very high vehicle speeds, which could cause a crash, serious injury, or death.

Maserati says that all of the affected vehicles are equipped with a brake override feature that will disable acceleration if it detects multiple pushes on the pedal.

“In each of the four events, the brake override system overrode, and disabled the acceleration event as designed, with no accidents or injuries reported,” the filing says.

So far, Maserati says it is not aware of any injuries or accidents related to the issue.

Maserati says it will notify owners of the affected vehicles starting on April 29. Dealers will replace the driver’s side floor mat, and possibly the accelerator pedal cover.

A similar unintended acceleration issue lead to the recall of millions of Toyota vehicles in 2009 and 2010.

NHTSA’s investigation, which began following the tragic death of an off-duty California Highway Patrolman and his family in a Lexus, ended in March 2014 when the automaker reached a deal with the Department of Justice to pay $1.2 billion to close a criminal probe over the issue.

In the California case, the vehicle went off the road at around 120 mph, but not before someone in the car called 9-1-1 urgently seeking help because they could not get the car to slow down.

This incident and other reports led to the recall of millions of Toyota vehicles, along with hundreds of civil lawsuits, some of which have been settled and some that continue to linger in the legal system.

NHTSA tied the sudden acceleration problems to five deaths. However, the root cause of the problem has been a much-disputed topic. Some have claimed it was a problem with the vehicles’ electrical systems, while Toyota blamed it on unsecured floor mats that became trapped under the accelerator or brake pedals, making it difficult or impossible to control the speed of the cars.

The agency has since declined to reopen investigations into the Toyota vehicles twice.

[via USA Today]