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A Congress-ordered investigation by top auto, mechanical, and electronics experts found that driver error was to blame in most cases of Toyota vehicle acceleration. There was no link to electronic defects found.
"There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas" -- Ray LaHood

Like a blockbuster trial, the verdict of Congress's probe into unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles was eagerly awaited.  Engineering experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NASA, Department of Transportation piled through mounds of test data on thousands of vehicles.

Today, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released the official verdict: "There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas."

Toyota, the world's largest automaker by volume, recalled 8 million vehicles over the last year due to problems with the floor mats and electronic accelerator pedals.

What the report found was that the only causes of unwanted acceleration were the previously identified ones -- physical problems with the accelerator pedal design that caused it to stick in place and loose floor mats that could jam the accelerator or brake pedals.  These problems were independent from electronic braking glitches that were affecting Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle. 

The report vindicated Toyota's electronic controls, which have been used in Toyota vehicles since 2002.  The news sent shares of the Japanese automaker's stock 4.5 percent upwards. 

The problems left Toyota's image badly stained.  The issues were suspected to be to blame in 89 acceleration-related deaths.  However, only a few of those were definitively substantiated to be due to the sticking pedal or sliding floor mats.  In most cases, driver error was to blame.  In at least one case the driver appeared to be faking the acceleration to try to sue Toyota. 

Toyota has already paid $50M USD to the U.S. federal government for failing to bring them to the attention of federal regulators, despite being aware of them.  With state and local lawsuits, the automaker could face an estimated $10B USD liability, according to a Reuters report. 

About a year ago, President Akio Toyoda paid Congress a visit to personally apologize for the problems and cover-up.  He stated he was "deeply sorry" for these issues.



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Excuses?...
By bernardl on 2/8/2011 7:05:28 PM , Rating: 2
Hum... is anyone going to present excuses to Toyota the same way that excuses were demanded from them?

One interesting question through is whether these accusations were genuine or the result of a planned plot to damage the image of Toyota. Is someone going to investigate this?

I am saying that this is an interesting question because it would help foreign companies trying to bring value to US customers hedge the risk of doing business in the country.

Another question is whether a root cause analysis is going to be demanded from all the other manufacturers whose cars were involved in deadly road accidents.

Cheers,
Bernard




RE: Excuses?...
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/9/2011 12:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
I think your conspiracy theory might hold water if you investigated the product liability lawyers in the US instead. They held symposia on how to successfully bring these claims against Toyota (I think there was one in Denver after the bonehead faked a runaway Prius in CA.) In any event, this is a sad day for lawyers.


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