Dogpile on Toyota - NHTSA Considers Electronics as Trouble Source

February 6, 2010
It looks like there's more bad news on the horizon for Toyota. There is scuttlebutt that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is going beyond the mechanical fix that Toyota has prescribed for recalled vehicles and will be looking into electronics as a source of some reports by Toyota owners of unintended acceleration.Our colleagues at Autoblog cited anonymous sources within NHTSA indicating that the agency was investigating electromagnetic interference as a possible cause of electronic throttle malfunction in some Toyota owner reports of unintended acceleration. One agency source apparently told CNN that NHTSA investigators had not yet identified any electronic throttle related problems but were still researching.

Autoblog quoted Toyota's vice president in charge of quality, Shinichi Sasaki, as stating that Toyota has never found any evidence of electrical problems. This is the same party line from the embattled automaker that Toyota's North American COO Jim Lentz stated in multiple media interviews and appearances over the past week or so.

The Toyota brass might be right if data from their internal investigations are consistent with a recent report from our flagship blog The Car Connection regarding Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's complaints about software-related sudden acceleration in his Toyota Prius. Woz recently made some widely publicized comments about his Toyota Prius experiencing repeatable sudden acceleration incidents while the cruise control is engaged. The Car Connection's John Voelcker suggested that the symptom described by Woz is simply the quirky nature of Toyota's fancy-shmancy adaptive cruise control found on the 2010 Toyota Prius and its up-market cousin the 2010 Lexus HS 250h.

Autoblog cited a statement by Sean Kane, President of Safety Research Strategies, who indicated, " all appearances, electronics are playing a significant role in the problems." Models cited by Mr. Kane for investigation included 2002-2006 Camry and 2005-2007 Tacoma. If the Tacoma ends up being investigated, it will expand the scope of Toyota pickup involvement beyond the existing recall and investigation covering affected Tundra pickups.

Stay tuned to as we endeavor to keep you updated on Toyota Tundra and Tacoma recall and investigation related news.

[Source: Autoblog, The Car Connection]

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