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Monday, November 1, 2010

Toyota caught red handed?

Recent court filings allege shocking accounts of what Toyota's service personnel experienced when they drove vehicles to investigate sudden, unintended  acceleration:  speed rocketing from 71 to 95 mph, and rpm's zooming from 1500 to 5500.  Attorneys say Toyota bought the vehicles back amidst efforts to keep things quiet.  

Toyota initially said NHTSA wasn't notified, but then reversed course, saying NHTSA was notified after approximately five months.  Toyota - recently fined, currently charged with racketeering, and the subject of a federal grand jury investigation - is developing quite a reputation for being a bit slow to notify NHTSA of safety related defects. 

As usual, Toyota denies that they were trying to hide anything, and we'll hear their "vigorous" defense soon enough.  Meanwhile, evidence is stacking up that sudden, unintended acceleration has to do with more than floor mats, sticky gas pedals, and driver error.  Furthermore, Toyota's reliance on "black box" data is beginning to look like a carefully contrived tactic of of smoke and mirrors.  Capabilities of onboard computers have been questionable from the get go, and these latest filings say the devices failed.

The tide began turning against Toyota with the case of Koua Fong Lee, an immigrant who was exonorated after serving two and a half years for criminal vehicular homicide.  His not-even-on-the-recall-list Camry sped out of control causing multiple fatalities, and these latest court filings lend all the more credence to Lee's unwavering insistence that his car was to blame.  As things now stand, customer accounts of sudden, unintended acceleration warrant a closer look, with a keen focus on electrical problems. 

Toyota, its your move.