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A Prius driver claims his 2008 model Toyota accelerated uncontrollably at speeds of up to 90 mph on a San Diego freeway before California High Patrol officers helped him stop his runaway car. The driver, 61-year-old James Sikes, said the acceleration happened when he overtook another car on Interstate 8, after which the car accelerated uncontrollably for the next 20 minutes as he traveled over 30 miles.
“I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny,” Sikes said at a press conference. “It jumped and it just stuck there. As it was going, I was trying the brakes … It wasn’t stopping.”
Sikes called 911 and a CHP officer caught up to the speeding Prius, instructing Sikes to use the brakes, put the car in neutral and then turn off the car once they had reached a lower speed. No one was injured in the incident.
The 2008 mode year Prius is currently part of Toyota’s Floormat Pedal Entrapment recall, which affects all 2004-09 Prius models. Sikes said he had received a recall notice, but when he contacted his local Toyota dealership, he was told the car was not on the recall list.
Toyota has dispatched a technical specialists to investigate the vehicle.
For more Toyota recall news visit the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub here
With all of Toyota’s self-induced woes as of late, the biggest problem the company has faced in recent months might just be a report by ABC News in which an expert (Professor David Gilbert of Southern Illinois University) produced an unintended acceleration using a Toyota product. Initially Toyota responded with concerns about the demonstration and now the automaker (and an independent engineering firm it has hired) has examined the process in more detail and have utterly refuted it.
In a statement Toyota has said that, “The analysis of Professor’s Gilbert’s demonstration establishes that he has reengineered and rewired the signals from the accelerator pedal. This rewired circuit is highly unlikely to occur naturally and can only be contrived in a laboratory. There is no evidence to suggest that this highly unlikely scenario has ever occurred in the real world. As shown in the Exponent and Toyota evaluations, with such artificial modifications, similar results can be obtained in other vehicles.”
Toyota has sent the results of its finding to both Professor Gilbert and to the Congressional Committees assigned to look into the matter.
Official release after the jump:
During questioning at the House Committee’s investigation into Toyota’s ongoing recall crisis, safety advocate group Safety Research & Strategies founder Sean Kane admitted that his group is hardly an unbiased participant. In fact, Kane admitted that a recent report outlining Toyota’s faults was funded by five different law firms, all of which are currently engaged in litigation with Toyota.
The report clearly states that Toyota has not completely identified the cause of unintended acceleration, had limited its investigation into the matter and then issued the floor mat recall as a least expensive action. It also claims that the issue of unintended acceleration cannot be solved by either replacing the floor mats or by replacing or fixing the mechanical pedal mechanism.
The credibility of the report may now be called into question, considering the source of the funding behind it.
In a prepared statement Toyota President Jim Lentz reiterated Toyota’s continued stand that the issue with its many recalled Toyota models is mechanical and not electronic. Lentz commented that Toyota hired Exponent, a top engineering and scientific consulting firm, to examine its electronic throttle system to see if there were any issues. Toyota gave Exponent an unlimited budget and no electronic problem was found.
Get more Toyota Recall News at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub
After ABC News aired a segment yesterday where an expert was able to recreate a case of unintended acceleration, Toyota has taken to the offensive and challenged the news outlet and its source. In a video segment (see below), David Gilbert, an automotive technology professor at Southern Illinois University, recreates the problem in a Toyota Avalon, by introducing a short circuit to the controls to show that in such a circumstance the ECU does not record a fault and does not go into a “limp-mode.” The “short circuit” that Mr. Gilbert has introduced is intended to replicate a similar situation caused by moisture or wear.
Toyota has said that it has already been in touch with Mr. Gilbert using a similar setup in a Toyota Tundra and that in that circumstance the introduction of a transistor to create the short circuit creates, “an abnormal connection between two otherwise independent signals coming from the accelerator pedal sensors.” In other words, Toyota is asserting some pretty basic science, that the introduction of a new variable pretty much negates the process.
In an effort to set the record straight, Toyota has said it would like to investigate Mr. Gilbert’s new method and the Avalon in question, inviting ABC News to come along.
Get more Toyota Recall News at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub
See the ABC news video and Toyota’s response after the jump:
This additional safety measure to also be included in most new Toyota models
As hearings into Toyota’s recall woes begin today in Washington, the automaker has announced that it will install a new brake override feature on an expanded range of vehicles. The feature, initially announced for the 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, and the 2007-2010 Lexus ES 350, 2006-2010 IS 350 and 2006-2010 IS 250 models, will also be installed on all 2005-10 Tacoma models, 2009-10 Venza models and 2008-10 Sequoia models.
The brake override feature will automatically reduce engine power when both the brake and accelerator pedal are pressed. While this is not a part of the recall, it will be performed when recall work is done. Toyota says that it is “an extra measure of confidence for Toyota owners.”
Toyota has also said this brake override feature will also be standard equipment on most new Toyota models in the future.
Additional info can be found at www.toyota.com/recall or by calling the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Find additional recall information at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub here.
Official release after the jump:
Criminal investigation into recall issues possible
Toyota has announced that it has received subpoenas from both the U.S. Grand Jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over documents related to “unintended acceleration” issues with millions or cars, as well as the braking system on the Prius.
This news comes a day before congressional hearings on the matter and a day after it was revealed that Toyota boasted on an internal document that due to lobbying it had avoided a costly recall that would have cost the company $100 million.
According to a source of the Wall Street Journal, the investigation is being handled by the securities-fraud unit of the U.S. attorneys office, which has been used in preliminary criminal investigations on high profile cases. The Department of Transportation is also examining if Toyota did not issue recalls in a timely manner. If found guilty, the Japanese automaker could face a fine of up to $16.4 million.
Later this week, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda will testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Prius recall still not announced
Late last night Toyota held a press conference in Japan where company CEO and Akio Toyoda, grandson of the automaker’s founder, apologized for the recent recalls and safety concerns over Toyota products.
“The recalls are affecting several models in several regions and have caused anxiety among customers who are wondering if their cars are OK,” said Toyoda. “For that we are very sorry.”
Previous to this Toyota has been criticized for its lack of openness and minimal communication, as rumors and news reports swirled and owners of Toyota vehicles became increasingly confused. Toyoda did give a public apology once already but it was during a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and wasn’t covered widely.
Toyoda reassured consumers that Toyota cars are safe and announced a new taskforce that would look into consumer complaints and work to make Toyota products safe. Akio Toyoda said he would personally oversee the new taskforce, which has six main goals: first, to improve the quality inspection process; second, to enhance customer research over safety issues; third, to establish an “Automotive Center of Excellence”; fourth, to work with outside experts on quality control; fifth, to increase communications and sixth, to improve regional autonomy of its divisions and product.
What Toyoda did not do during the press conference is announce a recall for the popular new 2010 Prius model, which Japan’s Nikkei News has reported is coming.
For complete Toyota recall information visit the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub
Toyota has now expanded its internal investigation over braking issues to cover all hybrid models says a report by the Wall Street Journal. Toyota has already admitted that there was a braking problem with its 2010 Prius model, and according to Japan’s Nikkei News, Toyota is preparing to issue a recall for 270,000 Prius models from the 2010 model year.
Toyota has admitted it knew of a problem that caused a brief loss of braking during the transition from the car’s regenerative braking to its traditional friction braking. Toyota refers to this as “slight unresponsiveness” and says it usually lasts less than a second. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as Japanese authorities have registered over 100 complaints about the car’s brake system, where owners say they experienced a brief loss of braking capability when traveling over bumpy or icy roads. Toyota has said the issue has been solved on all models produced since late January but no recall has been ordered for models built before that time.
The 2010 Prius model was not covered under the previous recall of 2.3 million vehicles for sticking accelerators or “unintended acceleration.” Those recalled vehicles use a brake assembly by Indiana-based CTS Corp, while the 2010 Prius and other hybrid Toyota products use a brake system developed by Denso.
Additional Toyota hybrid models that will now come under investigation include the Highlander hybrid and Camry hybrid. It is not year clear if the investigation will also cover Lexus hybrid models.
With the Prius recall reportedly coming, can recalls for all Toyota hybrids be far behind?
See more Toyota recall news here: Toyota Recall News Hub
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Recall likely to affect 270,000 third-generation (2010) Prius models
According to Japan’s Nikkei News, Toyota will recall 270,000 of its 2010 Prius models due to an issue with the car’s braking system. Unrelated to past Toyota recalls, the Prius uses a unique combination of traditional mechanical braking and sophisticated regenerative braking, which is used to recharge the car’s hybrid battery.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as Japanese authorities have registered over 100 complaints about the car’s brake system, where owners say they experienced a brief loss of braking capability when traveling over bumpy or icy roads. Toyota has admitted it knew of a problem that caused a brief loss of braking during the transition from the car’s regenerative braking to its traditional friction braking. Toyota refers to this as “slight unresponsiveness” and says it usually lasts less than a second.
Toyota has said the issue has been solved on all models produced since late January but no recall has been ordered for models built before that time.
Toyota spokesman Tom Hanson has said he has no information regarding the recall of the Prius model. Earlier today the Japanese automaker released a statement saying that it, “is aware that NHTSA has opened a Preliminary Evaluation centered on owner complaints of a braking issue with the 2010 model year Prius. Toyota will cooperate fully with NHTSA’s investigation.”
Only yesterday the AutoGuide team was discussing the fact that with all the recent Toyota recalls, the next thing to be recalled might be the automaker’s Prius iPhone App. Well, truth may be stranger than fiction as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now said it will look into whether electronic interference from cell phones could be the cause of unintended acceleration issues with several Toyota models.
Electromagnetic interference, or EMI, has become a concern as electronic gadgets have become a part of every day life. At the same time, cars have become increasingly reliant on electrical, rather than mechanical, components. It has been suggested that the issue over Toyota’s “unintended acceleration” problem could be due to electronic interference and not a mechanical fault as many modern vehicles use electronic throttle sensors, rather than a mechanical system where a pushing the gas pedal actuates a wire than opens the engine’s throttlebody.
Fear over electrical interference is what has prompted airlines to ask passengers to turn off electrical equipment.
Toyota currently has a recall out for 2.3 million vehicles due to what it calls a potentially faulty mechanical brake pedal. The recall includes the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia.
See more Toyota recall news at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Toyota‘s popular Prius model is now officially under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for potentially faulty brakes. In a statement released by the NHTSA, it said it will launch a formal investigation into whether the popular hybrid has a brief loss of braking capability when traveling over bumpy or icy roads.
This announcement may, however, be a moot point as Toyota has already admitted to knowing there was a problem with the brakes on the 2010 Prius (a model previously unaffected by any of Toyota’s other recalls). Toyota has said it knew of a problem that caused a brief loss of braking during the transition from the car’s regenerative braking (which serves to power-up the car’s hybrid battery) to its traditional friction braking. Toyota refers to this as “slight unresponsiveness” and says it usually lasts less than a second.
The NHTSA has received over 100 complaints about the Prius’s brakes, including four where crashes resulted.
Toyota has said the issue has been solved on all models produced since late January but has yet to issue a recall for all 2010 models built and sold before that point. The NHTSA’s investigation is likely to ensure a recall.
See more Toyota recall news at the AutoGuide.com Toyota Recall News Hub.
2010 Pirus model could be part of new Toyota recall
After pressure from the U.S. and Japanese governments, Toyota has admitted that there was an issue with the brakes on the all-new 2010 Prius hybrid. Over 100 complaints about braking related issues have been reported to the NHTSA and roughly a dozen such reports to the authorities in Japan.
According to Toyota, Prius models sold before the end of January have an electrical defect whereby there is a brief loss of braking during the transition from the car’s regenerative braking (which serves to power-up the car’s hybrid battery) to its traditional friction braking. This only occurred when braking on icy or bumpy roads. Toyota refers to this as “slight unresponsiveness” and says it usually lasts less than a second.
The automaker has corrected the problem on all Prius models built since the end of January but has not issued a recall for consumers. A recall is being considered.
The 2010 Prius is not currently covered under any of Toyota’s recalls, while the 2004-09 model is covered under the floormat recall.
See more Toyota recall news at our Toyota Recall News Hub.
Tacoma pickup was not included in recent 2.3 million vehicle recall for sticking accelerator pedals
Along with two major recalls, one for Floor Mat Entrapment and another for Sticking Accelerator Pedals, a Federal government committee will investigate whether other models, including the Toyota Tacoma and Prius, might be in need of recalls.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100 complaints have bee made by Toyota Tacoma owners related to issues of unintended acceleration. The Tacoma, however, uses a Denso pedal assembly and not the CTS Corp. pedal assembly found in the 2.3 million recalled models for Sticking Accelerator Pedals. CTS Corp. is based in Indiana, while Denso pedal assemblies are manufactured in Japan.
The Ministry of Transportation has said it will look at whether the problem of sudden acceleration is electronic and not mechanical.
“What explains the seemingly high number of complaints in NHTSA’s database regarding sudden acceleration in this model?” the committee asked. “Is it Toyota’s opinion that most of these can be explained by driver error, erroneous reporting, or faulty floor mats?”
“Has Toyota examined the possibility that the sudden acceleration problems are not caused by the floor mats or gas pedal in some models, but by problems with the electronic sensors or the computer system which govern the accelerator? Is Toyota confident that the electronics are not involved in this problem?”
Toyota has continually denied that the issue is electronic, saying in a statement that, “After many years of exhaustive testing—by us and other outside agencies—we have found no evidence of a problem with our electronic throttle control system that could have caused unwanted acceleration. Our vehicles go through extensive electromagnetic radiation testing dynamically. We have our own test facility in Japan, we are also building one in Ann Arbor. The testing examines microwave radiation and every other type of magnetic wave and we have never been able to force our systems to fail through any of the tests that are done on them. There are many redundancies and fail safes that are built into our system. If the accelerator pedal and the throttle on the engine don’t match in their communication to each other the throttle returns to an idle position.”
The committee will also look at the 2010 Toyota Prius as a candidate for a recall, after the Japanese Ministry of Transportation asked Toyota to investigate complaints from owners for potentially faulty brakes.
The committee has asked Toyota North American president, Yoshimi Inaba to answer several questions ahead of a Feb 10th hearing, which has been titled, “Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public At Risk?”
[Source: Detroit News]
Recall News Hub to Update, Educate Consumers
Amidst the continuing controversy and confusion surrounding the numerous Toyota recalls, we at AutoGuide.com have decided to launch the TOYOTA RECALL NEWS HUB. Featured on our home page and constantly updated through our news blog, we aim to bring you the very latest in recall-related news as well as list important information about what vehicles are recalled and what owners should be doing.
The Toyota Recall News Hub features two main sections, a CONSUMER section listing what owners of recalled Toyota owners need to know, as well as an INDUSTRY section reporting on all related stories, emerging news and the fallout from the ongoing crisis at Toyota that consumers and the general public want to know. The INDUSTRY section will also feature links to more salacious stories and breaking news alerts from AutoGuide affiliate TheTruthAboutCars.com, as well as from other major industry sources.
See complete Toyota Recall News after the jump: