Parsippany, New Jersey – Car rental companies Avis Budget Group, Hertz and Enterprise Holdings have removed Toyota vehicles from their North American fleets due to the automaker’s recall regarding the throttle pedal. Enterprise said it is also removing the Pontiac Vibe.

Avis Budget Group said that it has removed approximately 20,000 Toyota vehicles from its fleet, effective January 27, 2010, covering the specific models identified in the recall.

In its statement, the company said, “It is important to note that the safety problems that have led to Toyota’s recall of certain vehicles are believed to arise out of usage over time. Accordingly, we believe that all of the Toyotas in our fleet are safe, given the regular maintenance and the low mileage of our overall fleet, which we believe is the lowest of any major vehicle rental company in the U.S.”

Avis Budget said that Toyota vehicles represent only a small percentage of the overall fleet, and expects to be able to fulfill all customer reservations.

Enterprise Holdings said that customers currently renting the affected vehicles will be placed in alternative vehicles. The recall affects approximately four per cent of the fleet of Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental.

“The safety of our customers is our number-one concern, so we are acting out of an abundance of caution to remove the affected vehicles from our fleet until Toyota has identified a remedy for the issue,” said Matt Darrah, executive vice-president of North American operations for Enterprise holdings.

Darrah said that the company will not put new Toyota vehicles into service until the situation is corrected, and said that the situation may affect the availability of vehicles in the coming weeks. “We are moving as quickly as possible to minimize any disruption to our customers,” he said.

Hertz said that it is working with Toyota to make necessary repairs as quickly as possible, and that several Toyota models in its rental fleets are not covered by the recall.

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