Toyota is still smarting from a heavy decking it has received from Congress, the NHTSA, lawyers, and the press. Toyota’s answer? Let’s get SMART!
The Nikkei [sub] reports that Toyota U.S.A. has established a special team that responds to unintended acceleration problems within 24 hours of customers reporting them.
Toyotas rapid reaction force is called SMART, as in Swift Market Analysis Response Team. What sounds like a unit for ad-hoc focus groups, is actually at team of 200 Toyota engineers and other experts across the U.S. It’s Toyota’s answer to NEST, the Nuclear Emergency Support Team.
When the read alert is sounded, “product engineers, field technical specialists and specially trained technicians will quickly and aggressively investigate customer reports of unintended acceleration,” as the official Toyota announcement goes.
Steve St. Angelo, Toyota chief quality officer for North America, said: “As we did in two recent, much-publicized cases in San Diego, California and Harrison, New York, we will continue to work in close partnership with law enforcement agencies and federal regulators with jurisdiction over accidents whenever requested.”
So if your Toyota develops a mind of its own: Put it in neutral, slam on the brakes, and hope Toyota will do the SMART thing. U.S. only. In other markets, you have to rely on your own smarts.