By on March 9, 2010

Mazda doesn’t want to get caught in a “what did you know and when did you know it” and has decided to put brake override systems into all models to be launched anywhere in the world from now on, reports The Nikkei [sub]. (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2010

And while we are solidly in left brain mode, here the explanation of Toyota’s brake override. You can start on a steep hill, even brake with your left foot, says Toyota. Let their presser speak for itself: (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2010

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Energy and Transportation, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he was “looking at the possibility of recommending” mandatory brake override systems on all new vehicles sold in the US. Given the congressional hysteria about auto safety in the past few weeks (not to mention the already-expectant MSM headlines), such a requirement would likely face little political opposition. When Toyota first announced that it would be installing the buzz-worthy “failsafe” system on its new cars, we whined that the days of doing burnouts in Mom’s autobox IS350 were over. Which, frankly, was fairly petty of us. At this point it’s become fairly clear that, whether there are unfound defects still lurking in the evil minds of our appliance-mobiles or not, Americans need to feel that they could stop their cars in a worst case demonic possession scenario. So let them eat brake override systems, say I. At least until I hear someone advocating for mandatory manual transmissions.

By on February 27, 2010

[Update 3: This post is now officially obsolete, having been supplanted by the much more accurate update here]

[Update 2: In a new post, I have noted that 53% of Toyota UA complaints were filed after the mat advisory was issued on 9/29/09. The number used her are not adjusted for that. As soon as they are available, I will redo this spreadsheet, using more accurate sales stats]

[Update ans Disclaimer: As I noted below, this spreadsheet will be updated when I can access actual sales stats from our source, Morgan and Co. on Monday for the years ('05-'10) covered. That will very likely change the rankings somewhat. The Lincoln may actually be #2. But this is not about which car is #1 or #2; it's about finding patterns in certain makes, and within makes. It's an attempt to see if these statistics can shed light on a complex and opaque issue. As an example, why the Toyota Yaris is so low in reported incidents. It's more about these patterns and discrepancies, than about singling out the car with the highest rate, so please don't take the current exact rankings as the final word. It's a work in progress. The fact that the complaints are not tabulated by individual MY also limits this substantially, as running changes in a given car during the five year period will change things significantly. So this data dive is fundamentally flawed; take it as such. But nevertheless, it's still a huge step over the raw data that Edmunds put out, which doesn't begin to account for the number of any given cars sold.]

Numbers and statistics are largely useless without context. Edmunds.com took a first good step in going through NHTSA’s data base and reporting the number of UA events reported per make, brand and vehicle. But what was obviously missing was the correlation to the number of cars on the road in relation to those numbers. We’ve taken the next (tedious) step, and the results are most interesting indeed. They’re certainly not completely conclusive, but we’re not finished yet. The full list of 95 cars follows, as well as our methodology, a stab at some analysis, and more questions to still be answered. (Read More…)

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