NHTSA to Toyota: Stop Lying About Floormatgate

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
nhtsa to toyota stop lying about floormatgate

The Brits have an expression for this situation: “When you’re in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging.”

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a statement today correcting inaccurate and misleading information put out by Toyota concerning a safety recall involving 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles:

A press release put out by Toyota earlier this week about their recall of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles inaccurately stated NHTSA had reached a conclusion “that no defect exists in vehicles in which the driver’s floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured.” NHTSA has told Toyota and consumers that removing the recalled floor mats is the most immediate way to address the safety risk and avoid the possibility of the accelerator becoming stuck. But it is simply an interim measure. This remedy does not correct the underlying defect in the vehicles involving the potential for entrapment of the accelerator by floor mats, which is related to accelerator and floor pan design. Safety is the number one priority for NHTSA and this is why officials are working with Toyota to find the right way to fix this very dangerous problem. This matter is not closed until Toyota has effectively addressed the defect by providing a suitable vehicle based solution.NHTSA constantly monitors consumer complaints and other data. This comprehensive recall focuses on pedal entrapment by floor mats, but NHTSA will fully investigate any possible defect trends in these vehicles.TIMELINE OF EVENTS • On September 29, 2009, NHTSA issued a Consumer Alert warning owners of Toyota and Lexus vehicles about “conditions that could cause the accelerator to get stuck open.” As an interim measure, NHTSA “strongly encouraged” owners of specific models to take out the removable driver’s side floor mats and not to replace them any other type of mat. NHTSA warned consumers “a stuck accelerator may result in very high vehicle speeds and a crash, which could cause serious injury or death.”• On the same day, Toyota issued a voluntary recall of 3.8 million vehicles to address problems caused when removable floor mats push the accelerator pedal to the floor.• NHTSA officials are meeting with Toyota to hear their action plan for redesigning the vehicles and correcting this very serious defect.
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  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Nov 07, 2009
    Daanii2 : False. A good drive-by-wire system will outperform a mechanical system any day. True, the path from mechanical systems to drive-by-wire is not an easy one. For one thing, the NHTSA stands in the way. But look at, for example, the yoke from SKF that GM used in its Hy-wire concept car. That would be a great way to drive. We are wedded to steering wheels and foot pedals by history only. Functionally, they are now a joke. They don’t work well. As anyone who has tried to steer or brake a car without power can tell you. Yeah, I'm sure the yolk would give me great feedback for what my tires are doing when I'm driving at the limits. I'll believe it when someone is winning races with them. Sure, it's harder to turn the steering wheel at very low speeds and you have to push harder on the brakes when the engine is off, but it's still not hard to drive. Many of us even drove Chevettes in high school which had neither power steering nor power brakes. How well does the drive-by-wire system work if it loses power?

  • Doug Korthof Doug Korthof on Feb 15, 2010

    Toyota produced and honorably sold the Toyota RAV4-EV, the only NiMH plug-in car ever sold to the public by oil-auto companies. But Toyota should have stuck to reliable all-electric EVs. Fly-by-wire means that your accelerator pedal doesn't have a mechanical linkage to the carb, like old-time cars; instead, it communicates by electronic signal, generated by the "pedal" switch and interpreted by the receiving program (presumably on the fuel-injection system). These FBW systems can be VERY complicated; and there is NO reason to move to them from mechanical linkages. They use it on unstable aircraft (where the aerodynamic constant is behind the center of gravity) because mechanical linkages are too slow; but they build it doubly-doubly redundant, with robust systems that "can't" fail. THERE IS NO REASON TO USE THIS ON CARS, and it provides one extremely delicate new way for cars to fail. In the many lines of real-time code, there may be an obscure bug, that only surfaces once every 10,000 cars or so, depending on some other signal from some other system, some condition that only arises very rarely. I DON'T SAY THAT'S THE PROBLEM, but it's one problem that doesn't exist with mechanical linkages, and there was no reason to move to FBW with reliable mechanical systems already proven and safe. The other thing is getting rid of "key less ignition"; I can't believe they expect you seriously to hold your finger on a button for 3 seconds to stop the thing, if it's going into runaway mode. Keys are there for a reason! Simple switches are reliable! Floor mats are always a problem, if you're a goof; but unlikely to explain all these issues. I've had problems with the floor mats curling, but not just on Toyotas! So that's not the issue, and Toyota should drop that excuse.

  • Tassos those 90s pathetic orange pixels are inexcusably lame in a 2010.The interior is filled with Grey Rubbermaid plastic and the tiny sliver of real or fake wood is an utterly pathetic attempt to pretend it's upscale (don't even THINK of "Luxury")Merc SLs with similar metal retractable roofs look so much better inside and out.Regardless of what you paid for this way undepowered near-luxury pretend-sports car, you would have done so much better with a PORSCHE BOXSTER...
  • Dukeisduke That's a cool picture (the one under the bridge) - where was it taken? Google Image Search doesn't turn up any matches.
  • Dukeisduke Okay, yeah, they should fix this, but, "URGENT: DO NOT DRIVE THIS VEHICLE"? I think we're reaching Peak Idiocracy.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is a great review, and very accurate from my perspective as the owner of a closely related, but longer and taller, E93 335i convertible. So much in this review is familiar. Here are the things that are a bit different about the 335i:[list][*]My car is a manual. Shifter action is good, with positive engagement, although a bit more play and rubbery feeling in the shifter than you would get with, say, a six-speed Honda. The clutch is a bit disappointing. It has a "clutch dampening valve" intended to protect against the most abusive clutch dumps. The valve throws my timing off a bit and I have had a hard time learning to drive this car with perfect smoothness, especially in the 1-2 shift. I may remove the valve at some point.[/*][*]My car has the turbo (in single-turbo N55 form). On the plus side, you get what feels like significantly more power than the rated 300 hp once on the boost, and even in fully stock form you get entertaining whooshing noises from the blowoff valve. On the minus side, there is some turbo lag, more than you get in many modern turbo cars, and fuel economy is, well, not close to what Corey is getting. The turbo car also comes with an active exhaust system that is extremely quiet when puttering while making some nice inline-six noise at wide-open throttle.[/*][*]There are back seats! I have a nine-year-old and a six-year-old. The six-year-old fits perfectly. The nine-year-old still fits, but that will likely change within the next three years. These seats are not usable for adults unless the front-seat occupants squeeze forward more than normal. E92 coupes are slightly roomier in back, and E90 sedans are substantially roomier.[/*][*]My car has the M Sport suspension, which does not have variable dampers. It's firm enough that I have to be careful to avoid even small holes on city streets if I don't want to get jarred. But if you can avoid the holes it feels good, navigating expansion joints and such without uncomfortable impact, while maintaining impressive body control for a porky 3900-pound convertible.[/*][*]My car has iDrive and a screen, as well as parking sensors. But it does not have a backup camera. Graphics on the screen are pretty good by 2011 standards, which is to say not acceptable by modern standards, but the system is easy enough to navigate and works pretty well. I prefer the rotary controller to a touch screen for fingerprint reasons.[/*][*]The parking sensors are by far the best of any car I've ever owned, and they are so accurate I really don't need a camera. The sensors go to a solid beep when the appropriate end is about 4" from an object, and I can comfortably cover about half that distance with no fear of bumping. They also project legimately useful graphics on the iDrive screen showing where the object is. I park in tight city settings enough that I really appreciate the accuracy. Also in the city parking mold, my car has power folding mirrors, which I wish every car would.[/*][*]Like you, I have the mid-level "Hi-Fi Professional" stereo setup, but in the four-seat convertible there is not a dedicated subwoofer. Bass is a bit on the weak side. Sound quality is about comparable with the JBL system in my Toyota Highlander, which is to say it's good enough for listening in the car but is not going to impress anyone.[/*][*]There are small leaks from the joints between the top and the A-pillars in my car. They won't soak the interior, but they will result in a few drops of water on the front seats after a hard rain. I'm still experimenting to see if regular applications of rubber protectant can restore the seals enough to eliminate the leaks. There are no leaks from any other part of the top mechanism.[/*][*]I've only owned the car for about eight months and 1500 miles, but so far nothing has broken and every feature on the car works correctly. A purchase-time inspection found only an incorrectly secured fan shroud and no other problems, and there is a mostly complete service history, so this was a well-maintained car to start with.[/*][/list]
  • Lou_BC This offer reminds me of those plans where you get something free but if you fail to cancel prior to the expiry of the "Free" plan you end up on the hook for a lengthy contract. Tesla wants to attract people to their electrical company. It's smart. Make money selling the car, make money with subscription services on the car, and make money selling the fuel to power the car at home and at charging stations.