Toyota Responds to “Grossly Inaccurate” CNN Report

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On Thursday, March 1, 2012 CNN ran a report that accused Toyota of covering up a 2006 memo that CNN says reveals that the Japanese Automaker’s engineers knew about the “unintended acceleration” in their vehicles including the Tundra. Toyota responded quickly about these allegations calling the report “Grossly Inaccurate.”

YouTube Preview ImageThe memo written in Japanese and then translated into English states that the engineers said “The cruise control activates by itself at full throttle when the accelerater pedal position sensor is abnormal.”

The memo went on to state that a “fail-safe overhaul” was needed on one model, the 180L, which was later marketed as the Toyota Tundra.

Toyota shot back saying after the airing “In face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, CNN has irresponsibly aired a grossly inaccurate segment on Anderson Cooper 360 that attempts to resurrect the discredited, scientifically unproven allegation that there is a hidden defect in Toyota’s electronic throttle control system that can cause unintended acceleration.”

The automaker also said “The translation of ‘勝手に’m which appears in the document, actually translates to ‘by itself’ (as it does in the first translation by CNN) or ‘on its own’… and ‘発進’ correctly translates to ‘starts out’. This phrase ‘starts out on its own’ is used to refer to the fact that the adaptive cruise control (ACC) was preparing to resume its pre-set speed. This is not a reference to sudden unintended acceleration.”

Toyota went on to say that Toyota insisted to CNN it did not share the newly unearthed confidential memo because it “had nothing to do with unintended acceleration, or a defect, or a safety flaw of any kind.”

Also Toyota says that the translator hired by CNN who acknowledges that, “I added these words based on my understanding of the context.”

The scientific studies Toyota refers to are the NASA and National Academy of Sciences that were both commissioned in 2010 by NHTSA. The most recent NAS study largely pointed to driver error, however, some critics say it did leave open a slight possibilty that not all problems were uncovered.

The chance that Toyota was somehow responsible will be crucial to any potential class-action lawsuits.

So far, Toyota has been fined for not disclosing the sticky accelerator issue to NHTSA in a timely manner.

The unintended acceleration issue had been steadily declining with the number of reports falling. The problem lead to millions of recalls in late 2009 and early 2010 related to vehicles unexpectedly racing out of control. It hasn’t gone away completely though, since 331 incidents were reported in 2011.

The report by CNN seems to be trying to drag this old issue back into the limelight. However, according to a recent by the University of Maryland study, the various recalls and reporting has had little effect on consumers with the Toyota brand coming through relatively unscathed.

What do you think about the memo? Do you agree with Toyota’s response?

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Filed Under: Tundra Recalls


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  1. Josh says:

    CNN is notorious for stirring the pot. They don’t want to report on any REAL problems like, money from American companies going overseas because of hi union costs, or favoritism for the big three over Toyota from the government, or Ford F-150’s Catching on fire. Yep lets stir up old news that was found in almost all cases to be stupid DRIVER error.

  2. Mickey says:

    Dang that gas pedal being on that black box computer. That’s all what Toyota needs to prove themselves.

  3. Mickey says:

    What really causes the SUA isn’t the cruise control. They need to look at the tranny.

  4. Stream says:

    have to agree with Josh’s comment..

  5. mk says:

    I have never got my tundra in for the gas pedal recall. I do not want a shorter pedal. I really think there is something to this story, but who knows what it is. I don’t think all these people would lie to get money. I think it is an electronical issue whether sensors or computers or wiring that is failing on very, very limited less than 1% of toyota vehicles sold. Does it worry me personally, heck no, but if while applying my brake the car lurches forward and rpms rev up with no ‘driver error’, you can be rest assured I will be on CNN Anderson Cooper and I would NOT be that nice to Toyota demanding they buy my vehicle back at full purchase price plus any damages caused or medical needs. I know for a fact toyota has issues with their 2007 RAV4 3.5L V6 cruise control since I had one and it literally floored the engine gas pedal and redlined the rpm gauge up a slight hill several times almost causing me to get into an accident by the way the cruise control acted going at least 5 mph OVER the set speed. That cruise control was way to sensitive to slight hill inclines while on cruise control and floored the gas pedal to redline rpms on several occassions. Took it to dealer telling them there is an issue but they inspected and of course stated nothing wrong which I know there is in the design and/or programming of that cruise control. Don’t care what toyota told me, they are wrong. Why would the gas pedal keep speeding up the car past the set say 60 mph cruise up to around 65 mph going up a slight hill? It did it all the time and the sensors or electrical needed to be recalibrated to stop speeding up the car right at 60 mph or say 1 mph before, not 5 mph past the set speed.

  6. Mickey says:

    You’re climbing an incline mk. That’s why it goes 5 mph past the cruise limt set.

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