According to a PR Newswire release, a class action suit has been filed against Toyota and supplier CTS, alleging “inherent design defects,” specifically a “lack of failsafes” in Toyota’s ETCS-i (Electronic Throttle Control System-intelligent), in use since 2001. As in not the pedal assembly. A similar suit was filed in the US last November. Today, Toyota’s Jim Lentz was emphatic that electronics were not the issue with the ongoing recall, but shortly after the US suit was filed, Toyota quietly announced that an electronic brake override system would be installed on certain vehicles with automatic transmissions. Is that as good as an admission of guilt? You can bet the lawyers are already saying so. The full release is available after the jump.
Update: A portal to all of TTAC’s related articles on Toyota gas pedals is here:
Toyota has released their official “fix” for the sticky CTS-made gas pedals on the recalled models affected. From their graphic, it’s difficult to understand what parts are involved, and how they work. Thanks to our recent tear-down of the CTS pedal, we have the pictures and familiarity with the unit to explain it in detail. (Read More…)
Update: To see all of TTAC’s related articles on the subject of Toyota gas pedals, go here:
In yesterday’s post , we offered a bounty for anyone to open up both the CTS (bottom) and Denso (top) Toyota gas pedal assemblies. No one took us up, and no one anywhere else has done it, so we took it upon ourselves . Here they are, both e-pedal assemblies taken apart and examined, in our quest to understand if and what the significant differences are, and how Toyota’s possible “shim” fix would work. On initial observation, it appears that the CTS may be perceived as being the more solidly engineered/built unit, in that the pedal pivots on a traditional and solid steel axle whose bearings are brass or bronze sleeves. The Denso’s whole pivot and bearing surfaces are relatively flimsy-feeling plastic. But that can be deceptive, and we’re not qualified to judge properly if it is indeed inferior or superior. So the question that goes beyond the analysis of these e-pedals is this: are these units really the full source of the problem, or are they scape goats for an electronics and/or software glitch? Pictures and tear down examination and analysis follows:
Update #2: It’s clear to me now that the CTS unit I took apart already had the side cover plates (sheet metal) removed before I examined it. One can see where they fit, and are obviously intended to protect the exposed axle pivot and bushing seen above and below:
Supplier CTS, who produced the gas pedals now under recall from Toyota, tells Automotive News [sub] that it “built parts to the automaker’s specifications and says it has no knowledge that its parts were responsible for any accidents or injuries.” Sources at CTS tell AN that although they are working on a fix with Toyota and that new pedals have been tested and are shipping to Toyota plants, “this is their recall.” That would seem to contradict the facts of the case, as Denso, Toyota’s gas pedal supplier for Japanese-built models, has not been involved in the recall. According to Inside Line, the issue with pedal return damping that has plagued CTS-supplied, US-built Toyotas has not turned up in Denso-produced gas pedals.
Though Toyota is getting the brunt of the attention for what are apparently faulty gas pedals, the fact that the problem has been traced to supplier CTS means that Toyota isn’t the only OEM that’s shutting down production until a fix for the pedals is found. Bloomberg reports that Ford’s JV with Jiangling Motors in Nanchang, China has halted production of the Ford Transit commercial van, after switching over to CTS-supplied pedals in December. “We think it’s pretty isolated, but we are aggressively running it to ground,” Ford’s Alan Mulally told analysts in today’s financial results conference call. No other Transits are said to be affected, and Jiangling says that they have not received any reports of unintended acceleration for its Transits.
When someone pays tax, they generally like to think it’s going to towards something that will benefit society. Maybe it might be a repaired road? Or funding towards a crumbling school? I doubt they would want the money to go towards shifting a supposed CamCord killer or an alleged 3 series rival, but that’s what’s going to happen. BusinessWeek reports that executives at “New” General Motors are going to cut prices and rework adverts to boost flagging sales of the Chevrolet Malibu and the Cadillac CTS; two saloons considered critical to meeting Ed Whitacre’s target of a profitable 2010. That’s right, “New” GM are going to cut prices (A.K.A “Cash on hood”) to make more sales. Sound familiar?
TTAC was invited to Cadillac’s CTS Coupe wine-and-dine event yesterday, held in that prime habitat of the modern Cadillac: the hood. OK, so it was a trendy club located in an LA slum… same diff. The CTS coupe took center stage with the new SRX, CTS wagon, CTS-V and Escalade filling out the lineup. Where were the ugly-stepsisters the DTS and STS? Not invited said a Cadiilac rep. Upon first (long distance) glance the CTS Coupe looks entertaining, but it’s only when you get up close that the true weight of this beast hits you: this is one BIG coupe. Which is funny, considering the CTS Sportwagon next to it looks remarkably small for a wagon. But there’s the rub, Caddy is trying to do everything possible with the CTS with the minimum of effort (read: cost). The proportions of the CTS belie it’s uselessness: the rear seats have the leg room and width to coddle two linebackers but sadly only enough headroom for an oompa-loompa. The art and science design team gave the CTS coupe the most defined rump of the Cadillac lineup, a dramatic chevron which culminates in a steeply triangular rear bumper and trunk lid. And yes folks that’s a trunk lid, not a useful hatchback as we might have preferred. All in all, this is one square jawed Caddy, in the mold of the classic personal luxury coupe.
There was, back in the 70s, a Saturday morning cartoon in which the heroes could push a button on the dashboard of their van and turn it into a fire truck, dune buggy or stretch limo – whatever they needed. They don’t really make this vehicle. I know because I’ve looked. I need one. On most weekdays I start my commute in a the small bus, spending time sitting and wishing for softer, more plush environs and ultimately – when the traffic thins – become desperate for a street legal club racer. Now, finally, after 40 years, I may have found my car.
I was wandering the GM Heritage Center with Jaguar designer Ian Callum (yes, a write-up of that interview is coming), when a Cadillac PR man took me aside and offered to have me flown down to Los Angeles to “check out” this new CTS Coupe. My initial reaction was surprise that the offer was made at all. My second was to explain that I couldn’t possibly accept airfare. TTAC has a strict disclosure policy, and our Best and Brightest would doubtless take a dim view of any coverage made possible by an OEM picking up an airfare tab. Especially if I actually like the car, I explained, such a disclosure would create understandable skepticism. Paying TTAC’s way will always be self-defeating. Still, I thought, LA isn’t that far. I remained tempted to make the trip on the TTAC tab, right up to the point where I realized that by “check out,” Cadillac did not mean “drive.” An invite arrived, clarifying that this was an “opportunity to see the car before the LA Show and to visit with Bryan Nesbitt, general manager of Cadillac and Clay Dean, director of design for Cadillac.” No thanks. I saw the CTS Coupe before the LA Auto Show… in a Cadillac advertisement. Thanks for the invitation, Cadillac… but TTAC needs to drive something to drag itself away from the keyboard.