Accelerations ‘r Us

We do not believe sudden unintended acceleration because of a defect in our E.T.C.S. has ever happened,” said Takeshi Uchiyamada, an executive vice president for Toyota.    May be, just may be, Toyota engineers have never been able to confirm an error in the electronics that led to SUA.   But given everything that has happened, with now people complaining of SUA after the “fixes” resulting from the recent major recalls, is this what Toyota should be saying?  So, are all the Toyota drivers reporting SUA at fault?

Should they not be saying something along the following lines?

From the time these SUA complaints started several years back, we have investigated the incidents diligently and have been trying to reproduce the problem.  We keep looking.  We just cannot find an electronics problem.   We have built new tools, new hardware and we keep looking for more and more information from the system but we still cannot see our electronics causing SUA.  We have developed lots of new tools.   In fact, here on the table in front of you is some new hardware we have built – anybody with recurring problems, please install such a unit in your Toyota vehicle.  It can record/observe what is going on.    All of you, not just us, can observe what happens then.  Each unit will record accelerator pedal position, throttle position, brake position, vehicle speed, vehicle acceleration, cruise control usage, engine rpm, and more.  The last  15-30 minutes of driving data will always be recorded when the engine is on.  Our customers can look at the data directly – the software to do this can be downloaded right from the homepage on our website.  If SUA happens, stop, do not restart the engine, have the car towed and look at the data yourself.   If SUA happens due to electronics, the data will show it.  If SUA is not due to electronics, the data will also show it.  Please bear in mind that this box is not fully crash-proof and can get damaged in the case of a big collision.  But we still expect that in most if not all cases, if the driver switches to neutral avoiding a collision, the data will be accessible to you and be very informative.   If you report the incident to police, you can ask them to look at the data.  You can have your Toyota dealer show you the information.    Let us know after you have seen the data. Call NHTSA and us. We are right now looking for volunteers. We will be happy to work with NHTSA and others to screen these volunteers, install the units and have you collect more data for detailed observation.  The first preference will be given to those who have documented SUA incidents before.  The more observations you can make, the more everybody will know.    We have 1000 units available right now in the US.  It’s a minor expense given the magnitude of our recalls.  If more units are needed, we’ll make more real soon.   And then, as more drivers see that our electronics is not at fault, all our customers can feel safe knowing that the electronics in our vehicles is not malfunctioning.   Toyota proudly stands by its customers.  We always will“.

Why is Toyota not saying the above?   Frustrating.


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