Jim Sikes' wild runaway
Prius adventure a scam? The investigation of the alleged
unintended acceleration of Mr. Sikes' 2008 Toyota
Prius hybrid vehicle, which blasted by California motorists last
Monday is ongoing, but evidence is mounting that Sikes may have faked
the incident. Sikes filed bankruptcy two years ago, with over
$700,000 in debt.While Sikes claims that he is seeking no
money from Toyota, he's been attracting big attention with press
conferences and has retained a lawyer, John Gomez.
to The Detroit News, officials with the U.S. National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Toyota
investigators were unable to replicate the incident while driving the
2008 Prius at high speeds and accelerating up and down.Kurt
Bardella, a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking
member of House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which is
investigating Toyota, stated, "These findings certainly raise
new questions surrounding the veracity of the sequence of events that
has been reported by Mr. Sykes. In the course of this investigation,
we have seen what can happen when people take liberty with facts and
mischaracterize information."A draft memo from Toyota
and NHTSA investigators state, "On our test drive, the field
technician tried to duplicate the same experience that Mr. Sikes
experienced. After about 2 hours of driving he was
unsuccessful."David Jusko, a Toyota Motor Sales USA
employee and expert on hybrids says such acceleration is mechanically
impossible. He states, "So, in this case, knowing that we
are able to push the car around the shop, it does not appear to be
feasibly possible, both electronically and mechanically that his gas
pedal was stuck to the floor and he was slamming on the brake at the
same time."The 2008 Prius is designed to override all
commands and stop when the brake pedal and gas pedal are both fully
pressed. Failing to do so would result in the car seizing, say
experts at Toyota. Also, Mr. Sikes should have been able to put
the car into neutral and coast to a stop. Reports have
conflicted over whether Mr. Sikes claims to have tried such a
maneuver.The report did note that the brakes were very worn,
commenting, "Visually checking the brake pads and rotor it was
clearly visible that there was nothing left."However,
the wear wasn't consistent with the brakes being applied at full
force for a long period, The Wall Street Journal wrote Saturday,
citing three people familiar with the probe.Sikes, meanwhile,
claims he is an innocent victim of a defective product. He says
that his family has suffered since the incident, receiving death
threats. States Mrs.
Sikes, "We're just fed up with all of it. Our careers are ruined
and life is just not good anymore."Even if the incident
was found to be a scam, it leaves many unanswered questions for
Toyota. In total, the company has recalled
8.5 million vehicles. The NHTSA has received 3,300
complaints and allegations of 52 deaths linked to Toyota vehicles
quote: What began as a slight, very rare, potential issue (Toyota floor mats slipping to the point they might jam an accelerator)
quote: You say that, then agree with me that it's a media-fed frenzy?
quote: Really? So, Audi never had this problem?
quote: Really? So, Audi never had this problem? I'm sure they're relieved after spending millions for no reason.
quote: Seriously, if you are going to proceed with hurtling down the road in a machine, have a clue as to how to operate it in all conditions.
quote: One big potential winner is the US government who is the majority stockholder in GM. Can the investigators be be impartial?
quote: On our test drive, the field technician tried to duplicate the same experience that Mr. Sikes experienced. After about 2 hours of driving he was unsuccessful.
quote: Still further, all the verified claims of Toyota acceleration problems involve mechanical issues (usually floormat related). This driver is claiming what would have to be an electronic issue...an entirely different matter.
quote: Every time the technician placed the gas pedal to the floor and the brake pedal to the floor the engine shut off and the car immediately started to slow down. NHTSA and Toyota field representatives reported the same results with the 2008 Prius owned by Mr. Sikes.
quote: According to Mr. David Justo, Toyota Motor Sales HQ, I was informed that he is Toyota's residential Hybrid expert, he stats "that if MG2 (gas pedal is to the floor, creating positive force) and the driver puts the brake MG1 (creating negative force) then the engine would shut down. If the engine does not shut down then the gears would be spinning pat their maximum revolutions per minute and completely seize the engine. So, in this case, knowing that we are able to push the car around the shop, it does not appear to be feasibly possible, both electronically and mechanically that his gas pedal was stuck to the floor and he was slamming on the brake at the same time".
quote: Also, just because they can't recreate it doesn't mean it didn't happen.
quote: Toyota's only interest here is to protect themselves and to smear and destroy this person to do that.
quote: Some of you just want so badly for Toyota to be the bad guy here that it's just funny.
quote: As already repeatedly pointed out, independent and government bodies have also failed to find any systemic software or electronic issue.
quote: If you look at NHTSB S/A (sudden acceleration) reports over the last 30 years, you'll see reports from all vehicle markers.
quote: Regardless of this incident, Toyota clearly has made a major mistake and the public doesn't really care what they choose to verifiy or what they choose to blame it on. Their credability is gone.
quote: It dramatically replicated Gilbert's experiment on several vehicles made by rival automakers that had been parked in the briefing room."We did what Dr. Gilbert and ABC should have done to test the real-world relevance of Dr. Gilbert's findings," said Toyota spokesman Mike Michels. Gilbert's experiment was "completely unrealistic. He rewired and reengineered a vehicle in multiple ways in a specific sequence that is impossible to occur....Toyota and its consultants argued that engineers can rewire and re-engineer anything to make it fail. "We could rewire this building and cause it to go into flames," said Subodh Medhekar, principal engineer with Exponent, the outside company Toyota hired to diagnose the runaway acceleration problem. Toyota also used Gilbert's technique to short-circuit several non-Toyotas and achieved the same result -- a racing engine. "
quote: Toyota could never admit to this or they'd potentially be ruined.
quote: #3. Can't shift into neutral on most auto trans when the throttle is engaged.
quote: #4. One click puts it in accessory mode on most cars, so yes you will lose power steering.
quote: by porkpie on March 15, 2010 at 11:32 AM "Sorry, but I don't think anecdotal evidence...is adequate proof." But you're willing to accept the anecdotal reports of Toyota owners?
quote: If someone posts "My mom ate a grapefruit for breakfast", you don't refuse to believe them without a pageful of links and documentary evidence.
quote: If they had to buy back one vehicle to "fix" it, they'd need to buy them all back.
quote: Why would you hold the peddle down for long periods of time?
quote: If it was me I would have pressed the peddle to the floor
quote: Toyota has an override to keep the car from accelerating if the brakes are on. The simple fact that the brakes were almost burned out indicates that the override system was NOT working properly.