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Rockefeller: Toyota should be required to add brake-override systems to all Toyotas in U.S., regardless of vehicle age, cost

UPDATED at 5:26 p.m.

Toyota should be forced to install brake-override systems on all Toyota vehicles currently in the U.S., regardless of how old they are or how much the process will cost, said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), winding up today's long hearing of the Senate Commerce committee.

The U.S. government should also require brake-override systems on all new vehicles sold in the U.S., Rockefeller said.

The committee heard testimony this morning from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and from Toyota officials in the afternoon.

"I might say to you that, spread out over the entire fleet, the expense will be substantially less," Rockefeller said. "And I might also say that maybe the expense doesn't matter because these are human beings."

Chief Toyota engineer Takeshi Uchiyamada gave a long response, saying that the company fully understands there is "big room for improvement" and that he "will be standing on the front line working very hard" to fix Toyota's problems. But he did not address Rockefeller's request that Toyota retrofit every one of the millions of its vehicles in the U.S. with a brake-override system, which is meant to halt runaway acceleration.

Earlier today, Edmunds.com, the auto research outfit, e-mailed me a list of all the vehicle makes in the U.S. that already come with brake-override systems, those which do not and those that plan to add them.

According to Edmunds, the makes that DO NOT have override systems are:

-- AM General
-- Acura
-- Buick
-- Ford (will add beginning with 2011 models)
-- GMC
-- Hummer
-- Honda
-- Jaguar
-- Land Rover
-- Lexus (will add beginning with 2011 models)
-- Lincoln (will add beginning with 2011 models)
-- Mazda
-- Mercury (will add beginning with 2011 models)
-- Mitsubishi
-- Pontiac
-- Saab
-- Saturn
-- Scion (will add beginning with 2011 models)
-- Subaru
-- Toyota (will add beginning with 2011 models)
-- Volvo

Toyota's Inaba: No one in D.C. office disciplined for $100 Million Memo

4:23 p.m.: Toyota officials testifying before the Senate Commerce committee right now are getting hammered again over the $100 Million Memo and are saying that no one in Toyota's office -- which authored the memo -- has been reprimanded.

Inaba also said no one in Toyota has been disciplined for the company's runaway acceleration and braking problems.

The internal Toyota memo from 2009, obtained under subpoena, bragged to visiting Toyota North America president Yoshimi Inaba that successful "negotiations" with NHTSA avoided a recall of a Toyota vehicle and saved the company $100 million. Toyota got flailed by the memo in House hearings last week, which lawmakers said proved the Japanese auto giant cared more about profit than safety.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) asked Inaba if anyone in the Washington office had been reprimanded or fired for authoring the memo.

"I have told the Washington office that this is not company policy, that cost comes first and then safety, and affirmed to them that safety comes first," Inaba said. Inaba mentioned to punishment.

Lautenberg then asked if anyone or any unit or division in Toyota has been held responsible or disciplined for the company's vehicle problems, which have led to the recall of 8 million vehicles.

"We take all accidents seriously, especially fatal ones," Inaba said. "But at the same time I don't believe any sort of rule or system that would punish any individual...even if we know the root cause" of the problems, he said.

Inaba repeated what he said last week: That he doesn't remember the memo or the meeting with D.C. Toyota officials in any depth, because he visited the office only days after becoming president. He added today that the D.C. office was probably "trying to impress the new president."

Toyota exec: Company's North American unit lacked authority to issue recalls

3:21 p.m.: Toyota executive Shinichi Sasaki said moments ago in a Senate hearing that Toyota North America did not have the authority to authorize a vehicle recall, despite having first-hand experience with faulty products.

Recalls had to come from Toyota's headquarters in Japan, an admission that backs the U.S. government's assertion that a communication breakdown occurred between the two Toyota hemispheres, leading to a lag on safety issues.

"We realize our old system may have caused some concern or suspicion in the United States," Sasaki said, through an interpreter, saying that a North American representative will now be at Japan's Toyota headquarters.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified earlier today before the Senate Commerce committee that the Toyota business model is "broken," saying that Toyota Japan doesn't listen to the opinions of Toyota North America.

Toyota's Inaba: We have fixed 1 million recalled vehicles so far

3:09 p.m.: The Senate Commerce committee's hearing on the Toyota problems has resumed and the current panel includes Toyota executives, including Toyota North America president Yoshimi Inaba.

Inaba testified moments ago that his company has repaired 1 million of the recalled vehicles so far. One million down, only 7 million to go.

Toyota has executed three major recalls since last fall -- two for runaway acceleration problems and one for squishy brakes on its Prius.

Inaba said Toyota last week also extended additional complimentary offers to Toyota owners who are afraid to drive their recalled cars until they get fixed, which presumably means free loaner cars. This is going to get really expensive for Toyota.

Lautenberg: Toyota's responses 'ring hollow'

2:51 p.m.: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said that Toyota's response to this crisis sound like they came from a "crisis-management playbook" and that they "ring hollow."

Toyota's chief engineer Takeshi Uchiyamada is testifying right now and he's defending Toyota's electronic engine throttle control system (ECTS), saying it actually makes the cars safer, not more dangerous. NTHSA is testing the system, which some believe to be the cause, or a cause, of the runaway Toyota acceleration. He says:

"While concerns have been raised about our electronic throttle control system, this system – used by all major automakers – actually represents a great safety advancement, enabling superior traction control and electronic stability control, among other things.

The fail‐safe systems in Toyota’s ETCS are robust. Our design includes two separate central processors – a main central processing unit, or “CPU”, and a sub CPU. The two CPUs are both inside the engine control module and they both get the same throttle‐related inputs in parallel from the engine sensor network.

The main, or 'control; CPU calculates and executes the operating commands for all engine systems. The sub CPU monitors throttle control inputs, throttle control outputs, and main CPU processes. A “watch dog signal” passes between the two CPUs many times per second to confirm that the processors are working correctly. If the two CPUs are not in agreement, or either the main or sub CPU does not receive the “watch dog signal”, the engine management system will alert the driver and go into a fail‐safe mode operation."

From testimony Inaba plans to deliver:

"We will ensure that our customers’ voices will be heard and acted upon in a timely manner. In the United States, we will investigate consumer complaints more aggressively by deploying “SWAT teams” of technicians to make on‐site inspections of unintended acceleration reports as quickly as possible. We are establishing the new position of Regional Product Safety Executive, and our North American operations will have more autonomy and decision‐making power with regard to recall and other safety issues. In addition, we will establish a new Automotive Center of Quality Excellence in the U.S., where a team of our top engineers will focus on strengthening our quality control throughout the region."

LaHood: We may considering mandatory brake-override systems on new vehicles

2:15 p.m.: The Transportation Department is considering a number of potential new rules for autos sold in the U.S., including the possibility of requiring automakers to include brake-override systems in new cars sold here, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in Senate testimony this morning.

The Senate Commerce committee is taking its turn grilling Transportation and Toyota officials today, following last week's hearings in the House. LaHood just finished his comments. Toyota North America president Yoshimi Inaba is scheduled to appear later this afternoon.

Committee chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) pressed LaHood on the brake-override system. Such a system, which Toyota said last month it would voluntarily install on new models going forward, cuts off the acceleration if the brakes are applied while the car is accelerating. It is intended to stop the sort of runaway acceleration reported by a number of Toyota drivers and which spurred the recall of millions of vehicles.

LaHood said his agency is considering the requirement that a brake-override system be installed on all new vehicles, not just Toyotas. Such as process, however, would be lengthy and would involve negotiation with automakers, as it would add cost to the production of new vehicles. Automakers surely will argue that the runaway acceleration is a highly rare event, when compared to the millions of vehicles sold each year in the U.S., and often is the result of driver error, not vehicle failure.

LaHood: Toyota's business model is broken

11:49 a.m.: Today it's the Senate's turn to take a crack at NHTSA and Toyota officials over the Japanese automaker's recent recall problems.

The Senate commerce committee is questioning Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood right now, and Toyota North America President Yoshimi Inaba is due up this afternoon.

LaHood repeated something he said in House hearings last week but this time stated it more bluntly: "Toyota's business model is broken."

He's referring not specifically to quality problems, but communication problems between Toyota North America and Toyota headquarters in Japan. LaHood said that Toyota North America has "good, quality people" who were raising early warnings about runaway acceleration in Toyota vehicles here but that those warnings fell on deaf ears back in Japan.

NHTSA has mined its driver complaint database and this morning released the following data:

  • As of the end of February, NHTSA said it received 43 complaints of fatal incidents that allegedly involve runaway acceleration in Toyotas since 2000. In the 43 incidents, a total of 52 people died (the larger figure includes passengers and other non-drivers). "It is important to note that these are not confirmed – they are allegations at present," NHTSA said.

  • Of those 52 deaths, 41 came in Toyotas equipped with the electronic throttle control. Toyota has maintained all along that mechanical, not electronic, problems caused the runaway acceleration incidents. NHTSA is investigating Toyota electronics.

  • Three-quarters of the incidents involving fatalities (32 out of 43 reported complaints) have come since Toyota's first recall for unintended acceleration, which came last October. This is a figure I had been wanting to get at -- how many people have filed complaints about the problem since it was reported in the press. There are two ways to look at this: (a) people who had legitimate problems and for whatever reason had been reluctant to file a complaint came forward when the problem became public, and (b) people who are, frankly, looking for some sort of future cash payment from a lawsuit or settlement from Toyota and wanted to get their complaint on the record.

    Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

  • By Frank Ahrens  |  March 2, 2010; 5:26 PM ET
    Categories:  Autos , Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Ray LaHood, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota congressional hearings, toyota recall model and years  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Feb. sales: Ford soars 43%, Toyota down 10.6%, GM up 11.5%
    Next: Subpoenaed Toyota documents cause partisan rift on House Oversight committee

    Comments

    It is disingenuous to blame any branch of the government for procedural and systemic errors for the periods 1981-1993 and 2001-2009. By design there was little oversight attempted and much outright obstruction by the ideology-driven party in power.

    By design and Party policy Republicans have done everything they can to deregulate and cripple our government to the point where it can no longer function. The same thing has been done to our courts. Everywhere you look our society is failing.

    Pathetically, these thugs and mobsters are now pointing a finger and blaming the last 40 years of GOP failure on hippies. Their delusion runs deep.

    Posted by: BigTrees | March 2, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

    This is such a knee jerk reaction to a witch hunt. A hundred cars out of four million had an issue. A few morons could not turn the key off or put the car in neutral and now congress is out to destroy Toyota why?

    I will tell you why, the current government is bought and owned by the Unions and this is their chance to destroy what could arguably be the best auto manufacturer in the world because Toyota would not allow the Union Thugs to destroy them. This has nothing to do with safety.

    It is particularly amusing to see the first comment blaming Bush for this also.

    Posted by: Pilot1 | March 2, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

    Maybe I have not been following this problem closely, but it appalls me to think that a runaway car cannot be stopped by either a switch to neutral or turning off the ignition key.

    How did we get to this point with automated/computerized driving??

    Posted by: Bartolo1 | March 2, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

    Brake override systems are also the systems known to kick in at random intervals while driving constant speed on the highway.

    Posted by: Trypsix | March 2, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

    It is true that you might not be able to stop a runaway car by putting it in neutral or turning off the ignition. The car is controlled by a computer. The gear shift is just a joystick. The ignition, especially on push-button ignition is just a button that sends a command to the computer to tell it to stop. Its just as if your home PC freezes up, you can't do anything, including turn it off. You have to pull the plug. Only when driving a car, there is no plug.

    Posted by: thetan | March 2, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

    Looks like Lahood and his team were once again asleep at the helm. 1.3 million GM cars have been recalled. Don't expect the Gov't to watch out for you! They're more interested in protecting Union jobs!!!!

    Posted by: Jimbo77 | March 2, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

    Toyota has been a company of slackers for years. It was just a matter of time before they were found out. I must say though that they have the best advertising and promotional business practices in the history of the auto industry.

    Posted by: BeaverCleavage | March 2, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

    This is such a knee jerk reaction to a witch hunt. A hundred cars out of four million had an issue. A few morons could not turn the key off or put the car in neutral and now congress is out to destroy Toyota why?

    I will tell you why, the current government is bought and owned by the Unions and this is their chance to destroy what could arguably be the best auto manufacturer in the world because Toyota would not allow the Union Thugs to destroy them. This has nothing to do with safety.

    It is particularly amusing to see the first comment blaming Bush for this also.
    --------------------------------------
    You have 70 and 80 years old women driving these death traps, perhaps your mother or grandmother is one of them. Do you really expect her to out of the blue in a seconds notice to know what to do?? And what makes Toyota so special? Is it because they are really good at covering up defects? Toyota has a history of engine failures do to engine sludge but seldom is it heard, there are class action suites going on about it as well as C/A suites on RAV4 transmission failures, and now all the recalls. Toyota is a joke.

    Posted by: BeaverCleavage | March 2, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

    If they are talking about a brake overide in software for electronically controlled accelerators any executive who claims a significant cost to making this change should go straight to jail. This would be a trival change, and if you only made it to new cars, the cost would be cents per car.

    Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | March 2, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

    This is stupid, but coming from LaHood one can understand why.
    Put the darn car in neutral!
    By the way, wouldn't this screw everybody with a manual transmission?

    And get rid of this clown!

    Posted by: sandynh | March 2, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

    I love it when politicians start designing and engineering vehicles. This is when the crash test dummies go on strike or quit. I guess they figure the economic incentives for Toyota to determine and fix the widely publicized problems with their cars are not enough. Sure looks like grand-standing to me.

    Posted by: sero1 | March 2, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

    Our cars need moron override a lot more than brake override.

    Get in your car, start the engine, and put the car in gear.

    Put your left foot squarely on the brake pedal and your right foot on the accelerator.

    Press down both as hard as you can.

    You will learn that every car already has brake override.

    This entire witch hunt is not about cars. At a time when legislators are held in historic low esteem and elections are coming up, this is about Washington attempting to prove that government is good and will protect you.

    Posted by: WylieD | March 2, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

    Will somebody please put a muzzle on LaHood. Every day that goes by proves this shill is pushing for the G's shareholder value in GM.
    No brake override PLEASE.

    Posted by: roboturkey | March 2, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

    There is a large amount of theater in these investigations. But the BBC had a video of one very credible woman who described her experience with a Lexus. There is little doubt that in her case, the car's all electonic control system became impossible to control. That situation is unacceptable even in one case. As vehicles move to more and more electronics, a critical design point is to always have a fail safe override that never fails. Electronic equipment always is subject to unexpected problems. It is critical to work to a design point that provides an override to any kind of electronic failure that provides absolute confidence that the vehicle can always be controlled enough to bring it to a safe stop. Toyota appears to have failed to meet that design point with a high priced premium product. That failure is clearly a large blemish on their engineering staff.

    Posted by: dnjake | March 2, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

    Yesterday GM issued a recall for 1.3 million cars due to potential for power-steering failure.

    So where are the pompous Congressmen and their TV hearings? Is Ray LaHood saying "don't drive GM!?"

    Sorry, but I now trust Toyota more than the corrupt Federal Government.

    Posted by: pgr88 | March 2, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

    The irony of this idea is that it was proposed by Toyota TQA teams when helping Audi / VW with their issues of unintended acceleration. VW Wolfsburg QA reviewed the problems of all types of electronic remote computer controlled instead of manual connections and decided that " There is no such thing as perfect software 365/7/24 in every type of condition " therefore every critical remote software driven system will have a manual override ( such as the brake hard depress cuts out the Throttle ECM ) VW Audi use ISO Quality assurance under DIN code/ Even Fiat now copies this

    This admission of logic by the Germans was taken as a loss of face by management at Toyota City who followed a different Quality Assurance mantra and it was then decreed that " Toyota can make perfect software " Any TQA team member who fought this was kicked out the door.

    I am sure the people who have been killed by this decision and their families appreciate the cost savings involved.

    As the Chinese say may you live in interesting times .

    Posted by: Ideapete | March 2, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

    How did this become a rant against unions and the government? These cars were designed by non-union engineers, which designs were in turn approved by non-union, non-govt Toyota and other car makers' managements.

    Posted by: Bartolo1 | March 2, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

    Any company that develops technology products is always dealing with some problems. Managers who make decisions never have the technical skills to understand those problems. Everyone always chooses to live with some risks. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with claiming credit for succeeding with negotiations that avoided an expensive recall. The reality is usually that most problems are user problems and there is often real uncertainty about how serious problems are. But there is one big problem for Toyota. As best I can tell, Toyota has never been able to describe a simple procedure a driver should use to override an electronic control system that failed. That missing procedure is a major design flaw that Toyota needs to correct. A standard is required so that all automobile manufacturers include a simple clearly understood override that can be used to control an automobile in the event of failure of an all electronic control system.

    Posted by: dnjake | March 2, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

    ***"We take all accidents seriously, especially fatal ones," Inaba said. "But at the same time I don't believe any sort of rule or system that would punish any individual...even if we know the root cause" of the problems, he said.***

    you can't say the japanese haven't absorbed the u.s.'s 'never a moment of accountability' that governs corporations, banksters who destroy the world economy and destabilize countries ... and most of all politicians who have betrayed their oath of office.

    Posted by: mycomment | March 2, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

    Toyota will be reprimanded when hopefully consumers will wake up and be responsible for slashed profits. I am all for economically destroying this company. TFL, Ken

    Posted by: kentigereyes | March 2, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

    "Brake-over-ride system"?

    Used to be called the emergency brake, standard on all automobiles on earth, I
    believe. Found in most cars between the two front seats. Pull up, it mechanically applies braking power to the rear wheels to bring the occupants to a safe stop in the even of brake (or other) failure.

    Or am I missing something?

    Posted by: tomswift96 | March 2, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

    There are so many issues, these Toyota cars should be classified as lemons and owners should be given replacements.

    Posted by: JimZ1 | March 2, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

    Re: "...bragged to visiting Toyota North America president Yoshimi Inaba that successful "negotiations" with NHTSA avoided a recall of a Toyota vehicle and saved the company $100 million."

    I am less upset with Toyota's memo and baragadocio than I am with our NHTSA team that gave up the farm during negotiations.

    Posted by: waltonr1 | March 2, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

    OMG, our government wants in to the automotive engineering biz! I they were a company, I'd short their stock.

    Posted by: waltonr1 | March 2, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

    "Used to be called the emergency brake, standard on all automobiles on earth"

    It was always a parking brake.

    Using a parking brake to stop a car at speed would be tricky for a very experienced driver (and no, most of you reading this are not) for two reasons:

    1) It only stops the rear wheels, not the front. If you don't know why that's tricky, then don't do it. You will likely lose control

    2) That is, if it stops the car at all. The tension produced by the cable is probably not enough to actually stop the rear wheels. The difference between a cable pull and hydraulic pressure is tremendous. Imagine working the brakes in your car without hydraulic brakes using your hand. Good luck with that.

    And anyway, pressing the brake pedal hard would work well enough. I don't know of a car in existence where the engine is more powerful than the brakes. As anybody who drives fast will tell you, you can drive as fast as your *brakes* will allow you, not your engine.

    Really, people panic are panicking (yes, even the cop who was killed) when the accelerator gets stuck, and they probably compound the panic with stupidity when they lightly press the brakes, or pump them.

    If this happens to you, get on your brakes and get on them as hard as you can. The anti-lock will allow you to steer, so don't get tense-dense there. And then when you get to a reasonable speed (under 15), just turn off the car.

    Pull to the side of the road, put on the 4-ways, and call 911.

    Posted by: Ombudsman1 | March 2, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

    Senator urges brake overrides ...........

    O.K....!........

    Let's get it installed on the government check book......

    Posted by: UpAndOver | March 2, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

    Did anyone in "government" ever hear of a clutch? Push it in and it disengages the engine from the transmission.

    Posted by: gmclain | March 2, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

    Congress stay out of the private sector..let people decide what cars they buy based on the quality.

    Posted by: tonyjm | March 2, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

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    Posted by: qitkonlyyou | March 2, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

    "Koua Fong Lee has always maintained his innocence in the 2006 crash. Then 29 years old, he was driving home from Sunday services with his pregnant wife, father, daughter, brother and niece in his 1996 Toyota Camry.

    Lee told investigators that he pumped the brakes as he exited I-94 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and approached an intersection, his lawyer, Brent Schaefer, said. But Ramsey County prosecutors claimed Lee had his foot on the gas as he approached cars waiting at a red light.

    The car was moving at between 70 and 90 mph when it struck two other vehicles. Javis Adams, 33, and his 10-year-old son, Javis Adams Jr., were killed instantly. Another passenger, 6-year-old Devyn Bolton, was left paraplegic. She testified in a wheelchair at Lee's trial and later died from her injuries."

    **************************************************************************************

    SamRam
    Not only should every Amerrican be offended by the criminal neglect displayed by Toyota executives; we should restrict the re-sale of any pre-owned Toyota vehicle before it has been retro-fitted to an acceptable standard of safety. That "acceptable standard" should be set by enforcable design; not b ...more
    Not only should every Amerrican be offended by the criminal neglect displayed by Toyota executives; we should restrict the re-sale of any pre-owned Toyota vehicle before it has been retro-fitted to an acceptable standard of safety. That "acceptable standard" should be set by enforcable design; not by the whims of the same Toyota executives that have caused stories like this and numerous others to fall on deaf ( except for the crinkle of Japanese Yen or American Dollars) ears.

    Posted by: samxstreampools | March 2, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

    So many people have said so many common-sense things about this subject I wonder what the politicians are reading. It gets down to the fact that most drivers have never had an actual driver-training course that teaches how to use the emergency brake (it was not always the parking brake.) or how to jam a transmission into neutral, or how to slide a car sideways. But I'm old. Drove an XK-140 Jaguar at Laguna Seca, and an E-Type across Europe, and the Weber carbs could blow fire at any time, and the big stick, between the front seats, was the third move, after sticking the brakes, and the jam into neutral, then, if all else fails, go sideways (see the movie, "Cars.) But no one has been trained for these events, so tragedy is going to happen. No safety device can save the undertrained.

    Posted by: billzz | March 2, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

    I find it hypocritical that Congress is going after Toyota so aggressively on the same day that GM announces recalls of 1.3 million vehicles for a problem with sudden failure in the power steering. (Of course, GM is conveniently trying to pile on Toyota, too, but claiming that their problem is due to a part made by a Toyota-owned supplier is a gross minimization of GM's own responsibility for the quality of the cars with its label on them.) Rockefeller, too, singling out Toyota to put in brake overrides is just silly. If this is an important safety feature, then all makers should face the requirement.

    Really, though, even a brake override is no guarantee of solving the problem. If the problem is in the electrical circuitry controlling the accelerator and brake, then a brake override could just as easily fail with faulty electronics. Some cases of accidental acceleration may be driver error, but when that doesn't account for every case, Toyota needs to figure out what does, fix it, and then look at the brake override option.

    The odds of facing this acceleration problem are extremely minute, which is what makes the frenzy over this seem a little extreme and manufactured by the media...not quite as bad as the Chilean grape scare and Alar, but close. Still, that Toyota is yet unable to identify what is the source of the problem is what makes this case so worrisome. They are doing recalls and moving to "fix" cars, and yet what is actually causing the problem is still unknown, which leaves in doubt that the problem is actually being fixed.

    This whole mess almost makes one want to drive an older car with a mechanical accelerator. Why the need for these electronic accelerators in the first place?

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