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Feds find no electronics-based fault with Toyota's throttle system

By KBB.com Editors on February 8, 2011 6:04 PM
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After an exhaustive 10-month study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA) with the assistance of engineers from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today presented the results, which definitively laid to rest the most contentious aspect of the controversy that led to the recall of over 11 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles worldwide.

"We enlisted the best and the brightest engineers to study Toyota's electronic systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas. Period. Our conclusion -- that Toyota's problems were mechanical, not electrical -- comes after one of the most exhaustive, thorough and intensive research efforts ever undertaken."

While not absolving Toyota of responsibility for issues related to "sticky" accelerator pedals and pedal entrapment due to non-standard or improperly installed floormats, the pronouncement clearly eliminates any question of claimed "uncommanded" acceleration being caused by a software glitch or electromagnetic interference.

In commenting La Hood's announcement, Steve St. Angelo, Toyota's Chief Quality Officer for North America, said: "Toyota welcomes the findings of NASA and NHTSA regarding our Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i) and we appreciate the thoroughness of their review. We believe this rigorous scientific analysis by some of America's foremost engineers should further reinforce confidence in the safety of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. We hope this important study will help put to rest unsupported speculation about Toyota's ETCS-i, which is well-designed and well-tested to ensure that a real world, un-commanded acceleration of the vehicle cannot occur."

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