2008 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
Or a scam. Toyota (NYSE:TM) today revealed its preliminary official findings after investigating the incident and the car, coming to the conclusion tha the accelerator pedal was functioning normally, the front brakes showed severe wear and damage from overheating, the floormat in the car was the correct type but was not installed properly, the push-button start/stop switch worked properly, and that the shift lever also easily engaged neutral, as well as other factors that indicated nothing was at fault mechanically with the Prius involved. Toyota even tested the brakes to overheating and found that the car could still be stopped from high speeds.
The sum of these elements lead Toyota to conclude that there is no apparent reason for the problem itself, and that Mr. Sikes' account of events should be investigated further--a tacit way of saying that they don't believe a word he's saying. In its release, Toyota stated, "there are strong indications that the driver's account of the event is inconsistent with the findings of the preliminary analysis."
The release went on to state, "Toyota engineers believe that it would be extremely difficult for the Prius to be driven at a continuous high speed with more than light brake-pedal pressure, and that the assertion that the vehicle could not be stopped with the brakes is fundamentally inconsistent with basic vehicle design and the investigation observations."Clearly, Toyota is staking out its territory on the matter, but it remains to be seen if Sikes and/or independent investigators will be able to show that the "runaway Prius" was more than a Balloon Boy-like attention grab. For more details on Toyota's ongoing unintended acceleration issues, and the recalls surrounding them, check out the links below.We'll keep you up-to-the-minute on the situation as it develops. Read the full press release on page 2.