Electronics Failures

Here are two excerpts of vehicle speed problems from two complaints about 2009 Toyota Camrys:

She proceeded through a traffic light at approximately 5 MPH, the vehicle accelerated to a higher speed. [NHTSA ODI ID 10306379].

The [driver] was driving at 60mph when his vehicle jerked and accelerated at a high speed. [NHTSA ODI ID 10304646].

Neither of the above complaints seem to indicate that the pedal was stuck in a floormat, or the pedals were sticky and not coming back.   In fact, there are 61 complaints regarding the 2009 Toyota Camry alone in the NHTSA ODI database in the category of vehicle speed control.   There are 30 complaints in this category for the 2009 Toyota Corolla.

In comparison, the 2009 Chevy Impala, Chevy Malibu and Ford Fusion have 0 (zero) complaints in this category!  The Nissan Altima and Hybrid have 6 complaints, and the Honda Accord has 3 complaints.  The obvious question is whether these numbers are unbalanced because Camry outsells them all.  In the first half of 2009 – for which numbers were available, the Toyota Camry with 150,242 US units did outsell the rest but not by much over the Honda Accord (118,459), the Nissan Altima (96,428) or the Ford Fusion (85,146).   The 2009 Toyota Corolla sold 121,643 units in the US during the first half of 2009.   In other words, the Accord outsold the Corolla and had much fewer vehicle speed control problems.  (Please look for a future post where disproportionate numbers for Toyota can be seen on other model-year vehicles as well.)

While floor mats have been an issue and sticky gas pedals do seem to happen, it clearly looks like there are sudden acceleration issues going beyond either of these causes on these Toyota cars (all of which share the ETCS-i).   Unfortunately for Toyota, their most recent recalls will not be the final word on throttle control problems – the electronics issue needs to be resolved.

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