By on March 2, 2012

Toyota says that a group of trial lawyers that sue Toyota for money “manufacture controversy where none exists and use media outlets like CNN as tools to serve their narrow, self-interested agenda.” Toyota thinks that “CNN is party of and party to an attempt by lawyers suing Toyota for money to manufacture doubt about the safety of Toyota’s vehicles in the absence of any scientific evidence whatsoever.”

Toyota makes noises that it may sue CNN. What happened? (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2011

Has it really been a year since the United States tore itself apart in a frenzy over the possibility that Toyota’s might suddenly accelerate out of control? So intense was the furor over Toyota’s alleged misdeeds, that it seems like the whole scandal occurred only yesterday, yet the brevity of the crisis already gives it the distance of ancient history. Now, just a year after the height of the hysteria, the first major book on the subject has arrived, casting a clear light on the events of the recall. Serving as a history of the scandal, a case study in Toyota’s responses to it, and a cutting critique of the media’s coverage of the recall, Toyota Under Fire is a powerful reminder of the many lessons that emerged from one of the most intense and unexpected automotive industry events in recent years.

(Read More…)

By on October 13, 2010

Remember Toyota’s alleged sudden acceleration? And the hysteria surrounding it? Dubious databases were searched for dead bodies. The Secretary of Transportation himself recommended to stop driving your Toyota, and to drive it to the dealer instead – very carefully. Luckless swing club entrepreneurs took to driving a Prius instead, brakes smoking. Lawyers around the nation had wet dreams involving a Gulfstream V (or a 80 foot Sunseeker as a fall-back position.) As nothing of substance was found, the NHTSA asked the august body of the National Academy of Sciences to find the ghost in the machine.

Don’t even bother to look, it’s a worthless search. That’s what Paul Fischbeck, a professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, told the National Academy of Sciences. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2010

The Nikkei [sub] reminds Toyota fanpersons and Toyota haters alike that Toyota “still faces uncertain times despite the preliminary findings of a U.S. Transportation Department investigation that indicate driver error may have been a contributing factor.” You mean, that wasn’t the fat lady? You mean, we have to wait for someone more obese? (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2010

So far, it had only been the usual people “familiar with the findings” that whispered to the WSJ that the NHTSA has found bupkis in their search for the ghosts in Toyota’s machines, and that there is growing suspicion of the NHTSA that it could have been the wrong foot on the wrong pedal again.

Now, the Financial Times writes for the first time that “US government officials have acknowledged that they have so far found no fault with the carmaker’s electronic throttle controls. They have suggested that many complaints of unintended acceleration that have dogged Toyota stem from driver error rather than defective equipment.” (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2010


On the back of the news from the NHTSA that they can’t find evidence of Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) electronic gremlins, you’d think that Toyota would be feeling smug about themselves. You’d want to shout this from the rooftops, wouldn’t you? “It’s the drivers, stupid!” If I were Akio Toyoda, I’d show this to Bob Lutz, a bloke who took great delight in knocking Toyota throughout this affair. But what was Toyota’s European division’s reaction to all of this? Humility. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2010

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how cynical I was becoming about the sudden SUA syndrome with Toyota and how I found it amazing how quite a lot of these cases involve our more “mature” members of society. I used the story of Miss Myrna Marseilles, 76, who crashed her 2009 Toyota Camry (which was fixed the under the recall program), into the wall of a YMCA.

I inferred in the article that this was simply a case of driver error and nothing more and some people agreed with me. Peregrine Falcon bet $20 that this was down to pedal confusion. 210delray reckoned it had “all the elements of pedal misapplication”. Well, Peregrine Falcon, if anyone took you up on that bet, it’s time to collect. We were right. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2010

The Toyota case is heading towards hearings in DC and to courts all over the country. Both sides are putting heavy artillery in position. Both sides of the SUA wars commission heavy caliber studies – both with inconclusive results. Toyota funded a study into the electronics in its vehicles. Before that, a group of lawyers had “sponsored” Safety Research and Strategies, a company that makes money by investigating auto-safety for those suing auto makers. Ford, which had been at the receiving end of an SRS fusillade during the Explorer crisis, called the company “supposed safety advocates who are actually just shills for trial attorneys.”

Here are the latest dispatches from the front lines: (Read More…)

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