Looking to the Past: Why Toyota isn't Audi

You wouldn’t troubleshoot the space shuttle by tinkering under the hood of the Spirit of St. Louis. But a surprising number of observers think that the answer to Toyota’s Sudden Unintended Acceleration problems can be found in the mechanical systems of a quarter century ago. Linking Toyota’s present troubles to those of Audi in the mid-1980s is a convenient shibboleth; it may even provide a lesson in corporate crisis management. But to figure out why so many Toyota makes and models across multiple model years are experiencing unintended acceleration in a variety of scenarios, we must resolve to understand modern automotive electronic systems.

16.4 Million Reasons Why it Ain’t Over Yet for Toyota SUA

Toyota now has two weeks to decide if it will accept or contest the $16.4 million fine levied yesterday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to resolve Timeliness Query 10-002, regarding its sticky accelerator recall.

On February 16, the agency opened three recall probes – Recall Query 10-003, which examined whether Toyota had too narrowly defined the scope of its recalls, and Timeliness Queries 10-001 and 10-002. The agency never publicly posted any documents on these TQs. They were referenced in the Opening Resume of RQ 10-003. (SRS was still waiting for a response to our FOIA request for the TQ documents when the fine was announced.) They examine whether Toyota met its statutory obligation to report a defect to the agency within five days of determining a defect or non-compliance.

Roll out the Recalls!

The 2008-2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid becomes the latest vehicle to be added to Toyota’s growing roster of makes and models to receive a new, trimmer accelerator pedal to avoid floor mat interference. Yesterday, Toyota sent a communication to its dealers announcing Phase 4 of “Safety Recall 90L on 2008 through certain 2010 Highlander Hybrid vehicles for potential floor mat interference with the accelerator pedal. All Highlander Hybrid vehicles are equipped with a Denso pedal. The same templates and gauges provided to dealers for the Camry (Phase 1) will be utilized.”

How Do You Stop a Toyota Hybrid? Myth V. Fact

California Prius owner James Sikes’ wild ride down a San Diego highway has been endlessly dissected. In one week, an army of investigators have uncovered and publicized every salacious and damning detail of the man’s existence here on earth. This sideshow, however, like other distractions in the rapidly evolving Toyota sudden unintended acceleration problem, has buried a much more important question: How do you stop a Toyota hybrid?

Response to Toyota and Exponent Regarding Dr. David Gilbert’s preliminary report “Toyota Throttle Control Investigation”

The purpose of Dr. David Gilbert’s research study was to contribute to a better understanding of Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system malfunctions and the failsafe detection capabilities of some Toyota vehicles equipped with ETC.  His research primarily examined the failsafe detection capabilities of electrical circuitry, particularly, at the Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor (APPS) and the voltages and associated wiring circuits.

The Cracks in Toyota’s Recalls are Showing Again

The witness chairs in the House hearing chambers hadn’t even cooled, when Toyota owners who dutifully took their vehicles into the dealership for a pedal fix were reporting more sudden acceleration incidents to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On February 24, the president of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda, raised his right hand before an investigative congressional oversight committee and swore: “I'm absolutely confident that there is no problem with the design of the ETC system.”

Juanita Grossman’s Story: How Do You Slam Into a Building with Both Feet on the Brake? Nobody Knows.

Juanita Grossman was a petite 77-year-old woman who died from the injuries sustained from barreling into a building full-speed in her 2003 Camry in March 2004. When the emergency medical technicians arrived to transport Mrs. Grossman to the hospital they found her with both feet still jammed on the brake pedal.

Mrs. Grossman was still conscious, and in the days before she succumbed to her injuries, she kept telling her family: The car ran away on me. The car ran way on me. These statements and the placement of both feet on the brake – verified by two independent witnesses at the scene of the crash – did not rouse the curiosity of Toyota or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which was in the midst of an investigation into Toyota’s electronic throttle control system when ODI investigators learned of her death.

Toyota Identifies Yet Another Potential Cause of Sudden Acceleration

Safety Research & Strategies letter to Administrator Strickland asks why Toyota it wasn’t recalling its accessory sport pedals. The automaker has identified these aftermarket accessories, which it sells and installs through Toyota dealers, as contributors to unintended acceleration.

Toyota made this startling admission in denying a claim by Michael Teston, an unfortunate Toyota customer from Maaumelle, Arkansas.

Death and Drive-By-Wire: New Evidence Shows Early Deaths were Ignored

We have been watching with great interest as NHTSA has suddenly proclaimed 34 deaths in Toyota sudden unintended acceleration incidents, (when nary but one has been officially counted in eight investigations) and Toyota has doubled down on nothing-is-wrong-but-floor-mats-and-sticky-accelerator-pedals. We are pleased to see that NHTSA, under the current administration, is now taking the fatality reports more seriously and Toyota’s claims with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Toyota Sudden Acceleration: The Full Report from Safety Research & Strategies

SRS has just released its comprehensive examination of Toyota SUA. Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration covers this continuing safety defect from its roots to the current crisis:

- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's unsuccessful efforts to identify all the causes;

- Toyota's ineffective and conflicting responses;

- Who knew what and when.

Click on the image below to download the report:

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