The Truth About Cars » deaths The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 19 Jul 2014 05:27:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » deaths SUA: No Ghosts Found In Toyotas, More Deaths Claimed In Other Cars Thu, 20 May 2010 12:37:38 +0000

Despite intensive examination of more than 2,000 vehicles, Toyota could not find a ghost in their machines. This is what James Lentz, Toyota’s U.S. sales chief will tell a House of Representatives panel today, if Bloomberg is not mistaken.

Following-up a rash of customer complaints about unintended acceleration, which intensified as media coverage intensified, Toyota conducted 600 on-site inspections and more than 1,400 at its dealerships, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will be told today. “Significantly, none of these investigations have found that our Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence was the cause,” will be the key sentence in Lentz’s prepared remarks.

The committee members will hear that Toyota technicians found double- or triple-stacked floor mats in the cars of customers that had complained about runaway Toyotas. Customers will need to be made aware of the fact that higher engine speeds can occur when a car is started in cold weather, or when air conditioning kicks in.

But no car computers with a mind of their own, or growing tin whiskers have been found.

In a not totally unrelated story, Bloomberg reported a few days ago, that ”U.S. regulators have tracked more deaths in vehicles made by Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and other companies combined than by Toyota Motor Corp. during three decades of unintended acceleration reviews that often blamed human error.”

59 of 110 fatalities “attributed to sudden acceleration in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records occurred in vehicles other than those sold by Toyota, whose recalls have drawn widespread attention to the issue, according to data compiled for Bloomberg News by the NHTSA,” says the report.  Of the 51 fatalities in Toyota vehicles, 36 were reported after Oct. 5 of last year, following  publicity SUA in Toyotas. “Attributed to” means that someone, usually a lawyer, blamed that car for an accident. “Caused by” would mean that the car was the killer. There are no “caused by” stats.

Since 1980, NHTSA received 15,174 complaints about SUA. 141 complaints triggered investigations, 112 investigations were closed without corrective action. NHTSA repeatedly concluded that crashes occurred because drivers mistakenly stomped on the accelerator. According to Bloomberg, this turned into a policy position that caused investigators to take complaints of runaway vehicles less seriously.

In August 2007, a Toyota employee visited NHTSA, and later wrote that the agency’s staff “laughed or rolled their eyes in disbelief” when he told them he was at their offices as part of a sudden acceleration allegation involving floor mats.

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Toyota: 13 New Deaths, 2 Closed Plants. Allegedly Tue, 16 Feb 2010 13:53:02 +0000

The MSM is abuzz with a rash of fresh (well, not really) deaths-by-Toyota. According to an Associated Press report (this one via,) “complaints of deaths connected to sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles have surged in recent weeks, with the alleged death toll reaching 34 since 2000.” In the past three weeks alone, people told the NHTSA about nine crashes involving 13 alleged deaths between 2005 and 2010 due to accelerator problems. Without the heightened awareness, those people would have passed away unnoticed. Other fatalities loom:


Japan’s Kyodo news agency has on the wire that “Toyota is considering suspending car production at two U.S. plants for about two weeks due to sales falls following massive recalls of its vehicles over brake problems.” Reuters has the same story. No further details are available (we’ll keep an eye out.)  As long as the lines  are shut down only for a few weeks, people will be kept busy doing maintenance chores. If the sales will continue to fall, the axe will fall also.

As for Toyota’s plans, we will know more after 5pm local in Tokyo. Toyota Prez Akio Toyoda will hold his third news conference regarding the firm’s recent string of quality problems. According to the Nikkei [sub], “Toyoda is expected to give a status report on the recall of the Prius hybrid car for brake problems as well as outline the steps the automaker is taking on quality issues.”

Update: The Japanese Chunichi Shimbun, published in Nagoya, close to Toyota City, reports that Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky site will close for four days. The San Antonio, Texas plant will close for 10 days. Camry, Avalon and Tundra sales have taken a hit, says the paper. The closures would come out to a total of 14 days, not to two weeks each,

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