Federal officials are stepping up their investigation into complaints about stalling Corolla and Matrix vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor (TM).

In a statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it's moving beyond a preliminary evaluation of the problem to more in-depth scrutiny to examine engine problems such as stalling, harsh gear shifting or inability to start.

The investigation into 2005, 2006 and 2007 model year Corolla and Corolla Matrix cars in the U.S. began Aug. 18, NHTSA said.

Toyota spokeswoman Monika Saito in Tokyo confirmed the NHTSA investigation, and said Toyota was cooperating fully but declined to give more details, the Associated Press reported.

The problems may be caused by faulty engine control units, an issue that Toyota is assessing, NHTSA said. Whether the cars will be recalled remains unknown.

Toyota has battled recall woes nearly all year. Executives came under fire in February during congressional testimony looking into unintended acceleration problems in Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles. Toyota has said the problem is caused by either sticky gas pedals or rubber floor mats that jam the accelerator to the floor. It has recalled about 8 million vehicles worldwide to address those problems.

The world's largest automaker has repeatedly denied electronics as a source of unintended acceleration. Still, NHTSA has asked NASA and the National Academy of Sciences to look into whether Toyota cars' electronics could be defective. Earlier this month, regulators told Congress that data recorders pulled from crashed vehicles exhibiting the problem didn't reveal any new safety defects.

Toyota has also recalled thousands more vehicles for a variety of problems, including braking and faulty software.

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Who the hell would want a corolla when we have some of the best cars to ever come from America being made right now. Think 2011 Shelby, Vette, CTS-V, Taurus SHO, and for the toyota lovers, check out a new Fusion Sport. Jap cars are just plain dull and made for soccer moms and non driving nerds. Come take a ride in my 98 supercharged Cobra so I can scare the hell out of you, and show you what american iron is all about. P.S. I put an eject button in my Cobra just for Jap lovers...

August 27 2010 at 1:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fordnut1955's comment

The corolla is much cheaper then anything you listed. I own two toyot's and an 09 Roush mustang. The Stang is a blast, love it. But it is not an everyday car here in the north east. I need a reliable little car too. The chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, and the Chrysler ????, are all OK, granted they look better then the corolla.. But i have had toyota's and fords, and chevys, and nothing lasts longer without any issues then a toyota does. When you can honestly tell me you have owned or have seen a chevy cavalier, Ford escort, cobalt, cruze, focus, or neon with 230K miles that never needed anything but its oil changed and front brakes once, then i would think about it. But the new Cruze is 17K the corolla is 15K new (base). Why would i spend more for something that will not last as long, especially when the corolla uses more american made parts, and is built here?

September 10 2010 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll put your crappy corolla in the trunk of my 03 supercharged Marauder, then cruise it all day at 135 untill I get to the dump to drop off the toyota...Ha, ha.

August 27 2010 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fordnut1955's comment

Ill pick you up in my corolla with 230K miles when you either A run out of gas, or B, when the crappy automatic transmission in the Merc breaks. The Toyota corolla is far from a race car, But then i dont understand the comparison. You have a 33K original MSRP car, and the corolla at the most is 20K for a new one. In 2003 you could get a new loaded one for 17K grand. Which means you could have had two of them. And i dont care if it is a scooter, two of them would out last one of something else. The Marauder was a sick car, Nice big, had the cobra motor... but it was 4200lbs and the transmissions in the automatic ford cars are horrible. The motor is fairly well engineered, but then ford has had 100 years to profect the RWD setup.. I think they took ques from GM on this, when they cancelled the RWD cars, since they sold a ton of them.

September 10 2010 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stalling is a serious and potentially life-threatening matter. In the past, Toyota has been slow to respond to customer complaints, and this has resulted in the loss of goodwill. One of the reasons for not taking immediate action on recalls may relate to cultural issues that are unique to Japanese corporations: http://wp.me/pQr4T-bq Timothy M Mojonnier

August 24 2010 at 2:36 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

People need to wise up about Toyota, it's really not a issue if it's a union shop or non union shop, all of their problems are management problems. Quality is always a management issue, if they want quality they have to pay for it, if a job takes 2 minutes to do and the pay for 1 minute there is going to be a problem. Toyota sold their sole for volume and now the owners are paying the price.

August 24 2010 at 11:58 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Somebody needs to tell Toyota to cut their advertising about how safety is their first concern...especially the ad with the funereal music and the soppy voice that laments "Everyone deserves to be safe..." Toyota cut corners in its greed...ads don't counter that.

August 24 2010 at 9:16 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JimTach's comment

You mean like ford did with "quality is job one" When they had the firestone tires that took a couple hundred deaths before they called a recall? Or like GM did when there 1980's Pickup trucks during rear end colisions would burst into flames? You mean like them?

September 10 2010 at 11:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey aren't those the only Toyota cars built by the UAW (at the former NUMMI plant)? That would make this the government investigating itself again. Careful gang...

August 24 2010 at 8:58 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply