By on March 9, 2010

Among the many unanswered questions as to what Prius owner James Sikes actually did or didn’t do to try to bring his runaway car to a stop, one claim of his definitely smells.  He says he received a recall letter from Toyota, and when he took it in to the dealer, he was told his car was not on the recall lists. Ouch!

According to a story by Reuters, “Sikes said he had received a recall notice to take his car into a Toyota dealership; but when he did, he was told that his car was not on recall lists, he told reporters.” Only one big little problem with that: the recall for his particular Prius hasn’t actually started yet.

Toyota Safety Recall 90L covers every gen2 Prius MY 2004-2009 (Sikes Prius is a 2008). This recall is for the mat entrapment issue, and involves the cutting and trimming of the pedal to eliminate possible interference with floor mats.  But current Toyota documents and a confirmation from my local Toyota dealership shows the starting date for the Prius as “TBD”.

Since eight million cars are involved, it appears that the sticky CTS pedal recall (Recall A0A) and all Camrys (regardless of which pedal) are the first in line. And it would only create confusion to send out letters to come to the dealership when they aren’t prepared to do the work.

Either Sikes went to the dealer for other reasons, in which case they were correct to turn him away. Or he’s making it up.

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75 Comments on “BS Alert! Runaway Prius Owner Claims His Prius Was Recalled But Turned Away By Dealer; Fact: Prius Recall Hasn’t Started Yet...”


  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    Not rushing to judgement here, but… rushing to judgement here, it seems people are hopping on the “I want a cash settlement” bandwagon. Hey, I just got to thinking, what if the bandwagon has an unintended acceleration problem?

    • 0 avatar

      if the guy felt there was a problem with his car and he took it in because he wanted service on it…and Toyota turned him away… that says alot.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      Toyota turning him away doesn’t say anything – his car was not recalled yet. If you were the dealer, what would you do?

      The guy has already publicly stated that there’s no way he’s driving that car anymore, so I suspect he wanted to get rid of it. Even if he really did have a SUA problem, he refused to put the car in neutral even after being instructed by police to do so, so he’s clearly an idiot even if Toyota is at fault too. SUA is nothing new – back in the day, throttle springs and cables would break, etc. but apparently idiocy is new or at least greater – Americans are now officially too stupid to take their car out of gear.

  • avatar
    johnharris

    This is a basic question, but I hope someone will help me out here.

    With all of these Toyota “unintended acceleration” cases, did the brakes ALSO fail?

    Or are the drivers involved admitting that they were so stricken with panic that they could not operate the brakes in their car?

    No, the accelerator shouldn’t stick, but nor should a lowest-common-denominator driver fail to stomp on the brake to resolve the situation. This seems fundamental to me. If the driver cannot brake to control their vehicle, they are dangerously inept drivers and would have soon had some other sort of accident involving fundamental operation errors.

    Or the brakes are failing, too.

    • 0 avatar

      If those drivers are firmly hitting the brakes, and holding them, the brakes are entirely capable of stopping a vehicle at full throttle. However, if the drivers are tentative in pedal application, or excessively pumping the brakes, it’s entirely possible to overheat them and drastically reduce their ability to stop the vehicle.

      Like everything else with this overwrought fiasco to date, it has to do with proper driver response to a potential emergency, and the lack of same.

      And let me reiterate my initial assessment of Mr. Sikes — he’s either an opportunist, or an idiot. I think this latest development clearly points the way to the former…

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      With people so quick to jump to wrongheaded conclusions, is it any wonder so many people convicted of murder and rape have been exonerated with DNA evidence? Why are you people so quick to jump on Mr. Sikes and defend Toyota? The typical Prius driver is upscale, educated and usually upper income. In other words, the typical Prius driver does not fit the profile of a typical grocery store “slip and fall” plaintiff. Practically EVERYTHING built with computer technology freezes up or malfunctions at some point. Why would you expect a car to be any different than Microsoft Windows Vista or an IBM mainframe?

    • 0 avatar
      merlynbrit

      what seems fundamental to me is that people have some knowledge of the situation before posting a silly comment. the pedal sticks and the throttle remains open, the brakes don’t have the power to stop the car as more and more braking power becomes necessary: you can only mash the brakes pedal so hard. meanwhile the engine is racing, and damage is done to the internal components that were not made to operate at redline for extended periods of time. shift into neutral and e-brake are the only things that slow these cars down. getting to the dealer before the 30 grand auto you bought becomes a paperweight is the panic.

    • 0 avatar

      merlynbrit, it seems fundamental to me you understand how automobiles work. I suggest checking around the interwebs, where you’ll learn that in the battle of acceleration versus stopping, the brakes are designed to win…

      If the driver does what he/she is supposed to.

      It’s this last point that seems to be killing idiots, and giving opportunists like Sikes their runaway moments of fame.

      That said, you’re right in that there’s no reason why a driver shouldn’t explore ALL options to stop his or her vehicle in case it gets “away from them,” while all the time keeping their foot firmly planted on the brake pedal. (Hint — it’s the one on the left.)

    • 0 avatar
      JuniorMint

      …and let’s not forget, in THIS SPECIFIC INCIDENT, the brakes /did/ win.

      Remember (or read the article more closely, if this is new information to you): this PARTICULAR Prius stopped under its own power, without assistance. The brakes did have enough power to overcome the full-throttle acceleration, once Mr. Sikes had the brain activity to apply them (and the e-brake, which has the word ’emergency’ right there in the title) really hard.

      Wait, did I say once Mr. Sikes figured it out? I meant to say, once he was specifically instructed to stop his car by using the brakes. Also he was afraid to shut off the engine or put it in neutral.

      This info passes the smell test for you?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      Merlynbrit – #1 the brakes DO have the power to stop the car if you just press hard once and hold the pedal down until the car stops. Braking against full power only increases stopping distance a few feet – this has been tested repeatedly. If you ride them lightly or pump, eventually you’ll overheat them and they’ll lose effectiveness.

      #2 there is no damage to the engine. The ECM limits the throttle to a speed where no damage occurs. In any case, in such a situation your life is more important than property, but if you do the proper sequence – brake hard, shift into neutral, pull over and stop, turn off engine, it’s all over in a few seconds and there is no damage. Sikes refused to perform the sequence even after being instructed by the police.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      Hm….My left pedal is a clutch :-)

    • 0 avatar

      LOL. Mine too… which will also stop the car!

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Either Sikes went to the dealer for other reasons, in which case they were correct to turn him away. Or he’s making it up.

    No room for the possibility Toyota has their recall letters screwed up and now needs to recall some recall letters???

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      According to the AP, Toyota said that “perhaps this owner was referring to a ‘pre-recall’ letter”…

    • 0 avatar
      Gregg

      Could it be that his Prius was recalled for the brake problem? I seem to remember one of the recalls was a momentary loss of brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      Only 2010 Prius have the brake recall

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Here’s the Toyota quote from the AP report:

      “The dealership declined to comment and referred requests for comment to Toyota’s corporate representatives.

      Toyota spokesman John Hanson confirmed that the 2008 Prius is part of Toyota’s recall to address unintended acceleration due to floor mat entrapment. The recall, affecting 5.6 million vehicles, was first announced in October.

      Hanson said a recall of this magnitude takes time, and Toyota first sends a preliminary notice to owners saying their vehicles are subject to a recall. A second notice comes later detailing how and where the vehicle can be fixed.

      “I believe what could have happened is Mr. Sikes could have received his preliminary notification which says, ‘Hello, your car is going to be recalled, and we will notify you when to bring it in.\'”

      Edit: Paul, you are probably right, but I’m gonna give this a little time to see how it plays out.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      So if he brought it in anyway he must be illiterate. Or he’s BS-ing.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Now hold on a minute. Bagging on a guy because he gets a letter saying his vehicle will be recalled, but hasn’t been recalled yet is a bit over the top.

      It isn’t unreasonable for a person who gets a letter from the manufacturer telling them “hey, there is a safety problem with your car” to go to their dealer and ask about getting it fixed.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    I’m starting to feel sympathetic towards Toyota now. This might be a good time to buy a little Tundra 4×4.

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    This just in, hot off the AP news feed! “Feds to probe cause of runaway Prius in California.” The things these drivers will do to grab a headline… sorry, rushing to judgement again. I meant to say, the things Our Caring Government will do to bash Toyota. How in the hell much does it cost to probe every Toyota accident on every street in every state? You’ll find out on your tax bill.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    “I gave them my recall notice and they handed it back and said I’m not on the recall list,” Sikes said.

    Sikes’ 2008 Prius was not covered by the accelerator recall – only the floor mat recall, ABC News reported. His Prius model allegedly has a different accelerator than the ones with “sticky” pedals. Sikes said there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with his floor mat, ABC reported.

    There you go.
    He wasn’t making it up.

    Worse for Toyota is the fact that this is national news. “Highway Patrol Saves Toyota Prius Driver”.

    Toyota is screwed.

  • avatar
    crash sled

    Let’s narrow down the demographics for this guy.

    California resident, land of fruits and nuts opportunity? CHECK

    Prius owner, with the segment’s typically postured and affected customer personna? PROBABLE CHECK

    Confused about his Toyota? CHECK

    Can’t drive a lick? DEFINITE CHECK

    • 0 avatar
      stationwagon

      I just got done watching the news story about his Toyota Prius incident, and on the story it plays an excerpt of his 911 call, and in the excerpt the 911 operator asks him if he has thought about putting the car in neutral and he responds “no,” then it cuts back to an after incident interwiew with the man and he says he was afraid of putting the transmission into neutral because he was unfamiliar with it and he was afraid it might “flip-over.” this guy is a total car idiot, he is disingenius and a total fame/money seeker. If I had the money I’d buy a a brand-new manual-transmission toyota car or a slightly used one, right now. probably a Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      Accazdatch

      He does… drive a Vette…

  • avatar
    92golf

    Man oh man, I’m getting really tired of all this posturing, political and otherwise. It’s so over the top the whole recall, UA, mat issue is turning into a joke. Which is too bad because it seems pretty clear that there are issues with the cars that need to be dealt with in a clear unequivocal way.
    I don’t normally subscribe to conspiracy theories but does anyone know if any of these poor scared-to-death, sorry I mean blithering idiot opportunistic drivers work for politicians? Or do they have relatives who work for politicians? Or someone else with their hand out?
    I mean, just saying…….

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I was rather considering the possibility that he may have been hired as a kind of ‘false-flag’ plant by a plaintiff’s atty to be activated once Toyota attempted to go on the offense and try to refute Gilbert, Kane et al., as well as when TMC started to push the ‘driver error is possible too’ message.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    With any luck, all the negative publicity will motivate Toyota to offer some Detroit-sized rebates/incentives on all their ‘death-traps’.

    Call me a shameful opportunist, too, but I would be so there…

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      In addition to the 0% financing for march my local dealer is giving 2500 for trade in’s for new or used cars. They did a similar thing pre-C4C (it was 3500 then), the car doesn’t even have to run you could get a shit-box at a scrap yard for 200 bucks, tow it in and they’ll still give you a 2500 trade in.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    A caller on a local radio program had an interesting comment. He was wondering whether cell phone signals are what’s whacking out the electronics on these cars. There might be something to this. I heard another radio interview where an engineer from Ford stated that supermarket electronic cart security was once responsible for whacking out the electronics on a car they were testing.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      Not going to be it. No way, no how. Cars are bombarded by electromagnetic radiation at different frequencies during safety testing to ensure that even much stronger signals don’t affect safety-critical systems. It’s called electromagnetic compatibility testing. The Ford you mentioned would not have passed this testing.

      Software problems and tin whiskers (or the spontaneous failure of a cold solder joint) are much more likely culprits. Software is especially so. It’s even more likely that a gamma ray hit some memory cell at just the right moment.

      What I want to know is why he couldn’t shift the car into neutral. The Prius, as I understand it, is shift-by-wire. Is this a software problem?

      I stand by my statements that a brake override system is the only solution. Many of the affected cars already have an emergency brake assist system that is supposed to detect panic braking and deliver full braking force as soon as possible. Adding a throttle kill to the algorithm would be a relatively conservative failsafe. Solving whatever issue prevented the car from being shifted into neutral is critical as well. Driver control overrides MUST be present, tested, and as independent as possible to account for the possibility of unexpected failures in the field.

    • 0 avatar

      Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is a real enough problem that just about all the car companies active in North America use my neighborhood in suburban Detroit to test for EMI. It’s a radio farm with a large number of FM, TV and AM broadcast towers within a couple mile radius, and now many of those towers have been fitted with cell phone antennae as well. The cars they test are usually camo’d prototypes or pilot production cars, so they’re fairly far along the development cycle. A while back I gave Brenda Priddy a heads up and one of her spy photographers told me that he recently followed a test mule all the way from GM’s Milford proving grounds right to where I told Brenda she should set up a 24 hr cam.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I truly wonder how many of these claims are just utter crap…. just something someone made up because he sees the Toyota logo on his CamPriolla and wants some money. Either that, or there are more morons buying Toyotas than any other make.

    I AM NOT SAYING ONLY MORONS BUY TOYOTAS, m’kay?

  • avatar
    chicagoboy

    California is the land of the Toyota and is full of rabid Prius fans. I really do not think that a Prius owner would make up something like this. Toyota really needs to be transparent and get to the bottom of this

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    I find it troubling and amusing both near-death /death incidents of Toyota/Lexus happened in San Diego county.

    Having lived there I can see it. I guess ‘my accelerator stuck’ is a more acceptable excuse than ‘I was on my cell phone (now illegal) while rocking out to [a Boy Band] and tweeting on my other cell phone’

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    Some [email protected]#h in New York has just reported her Prius smashed into a stone wall…expect it to be all over the news tonight and tomorrow…This is ridiculous…if you don’t like your Prius, just trade the damn thing in, or sell it.

  • avatar

    Why is it that most of the media won’t openly discuss the possibility that sudden acceleration is just due to bad drivers driving badly? Or that recent highly publicized “runaway events” are in all likelihood staged for the purposes of instigating a lawsuit?
    Corporate conspiracies, irreproducible multiple system failures and heart-wrenching near miss stories get all the press, but no one talks about the one cause that we know is behind most auto accidents – the driver. http://blog.vanno.com/

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      The number of Toyota Camry UA incidents went vertical the moment the MY2002 started rolling off the dealer lot and have stayed wildly above comparable vehicles with a comparable demographic for the past 8 years. The charts displayed at the Senate Hearing and independently created by David Lapidus (his first set) make this point quite graphically.

      Basing a discussion of the Toyota Camry UA issue on the theory that a whole demographic suddenly got stupid would appear to have a very shaky foundation. Some, yes, but a 6x increase??? If you think about it, it would probably take at least a few years for that many people to get that dumb.

      Actually, every single Toyata accident this past 10 years has been caused by pedal entrappment. First Toyota said it, then Toyota shouted it, then Toyota pounded the desk while shouting it. Toyota even got the NHTSA to chant it and file false reports in the Federal Register in an attempt to make it so.

      You will not get 35 pages into this 180 page report and your heart will sink at what went on at NHTSA and Toyota to cover up and mis-direct the UA issue:
      http://www.safetyresearch.net/Library/ToyotaSUA020510FINAL.pdf

    • 0 avatar
      Accazdatch

      Car Person….

      I have begun to understand… that the issues didn’t start with the Camry from 02… this bullshit goes back to 96.

      Heck..
      Maybe we should ask Steven Lang to check out the boxes on various gen Camries… see if he can figure out of they are the same ones or I’m just smoking some really good ganja.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      @ Accazdatch

      Your are sorta correct, but in the early years, they were argueably at or below the rest of the pack at about 35 per year, give or take. With MY2002, they shot up 6x to 210 and remain wildly above what would be comperable vehicles with comperable demographics.

      2007 or 2008 was also heady spike year.

      They are so far in their own domain that it is hard to believe the Toyota drivers are so unique that the fault lies with them. Toyota absolutely does not want their cars to be found at fault but there is too much to ignore that the vehicles are playing a major role in the problem. Not just the mechanicals of the pedals and mats, but the electronics in the pedals and ECM as well.

    • 0 avatar

      I read this-thanks for bringing more to the table than a torrent of “grassy knoll” theories involving sketchy witnesses and CHP complicity.
      By the way-after reading this-if you’re looking for smoking deals at your local Toyota store,be sure and check off the St. Christopher Medal option.

  • avatar
    marc

    from Yahoo….

    James Sikes, 61, was identified in a 2006 newspaper story as a real estate executive and longtime lottery player who won $55,000 and was selected to appear on a California Lottery TV game show.

    He appeared at a news conference quickly after the freeway incident Monday and also spoke to reporters Tuesday at his Toyota dealership, where his car was towed.

    Balloon Boy anyone?

  • avatar
    ddwi318

    Sounds like 80s Audi, 90s Jeep problem = driver error. ABC Toyota report = 60 Minutes Audi 5000 bogus report. Internet search for unintended acceleration brings up most brands. Yet #1 selling Toyota is alone in the headlines– I’m SURE it’s not because the govenment is in the car business now!!!

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Sikes also said his shoulder is sore from reaching down and trying to pull the accelerator back up.

  • avatar
    Britlass

    Don’t you think if Toyota really knew what the problem was they would just say so and fix it? Or are they just avoiding recalling every dang toyota car out there? Or do they simply not know what the problem is? If they can’t reproduce the error then how can they diagnose it? I can’t believe Toyota would intentionally cover up a known potentially-deadly defect- how could it be worth their while?
    Was the prius driver driving on cruise-control at the time of the UA? I hate CC anyway and refuse to use it.
    I think there are some UAs going on out there but I also think some folks are cashing in on the publicity. Also wonder about the government wanting to bring Toyota down a bit to make Detroit look good.
    Too bad I didn’t wait before I bought my Rav4 – that’s my biggest regret- lousy timing.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    To the person who said they regreted(new word) in buying a RAV4, for get it, I have one a 2008 and very glad I have it, its a great vehicle!
    Great economy too and now with the price of Gasoline heading upwards, I am glad its a 4 cyl vehicle that also gets great mileage, that why the Canadian dollar is almost at Par once again, ie the Petro dollar at work, I really don’t understand why all the Media in the USA is so against Toyota, it sure is different up here in the Great White North, Canadians have never stopped purchasing Toyota’s and last month Sales where well up there too, none of us should buy any of the Detroit Two products, hey even Ford’s can’t make them in the USA,. but they do make them in Mexico where they pay the workers very little and instead make a huge profit for Ford.

  • avatar
    KingShango

    HOAX, calling this one a hoax. I don’t know this man and I think Toyota definitely has problems but this just seems fake. Maybe I’m just jaded by “balloon boy” but this seems pretty opportunistic. According to the article on MSNBC.com the 911 calls span over 23 minutes. 23 minutes! He couldn’t figure out how to stop the car in 23 minutes? A car that he’s familiar with. The 911 operator even tells him to put the car in neutral. This guy just invited a lot of scrutiny. I’m willing to bet this will all shake out in a few days.

  • avatar
    CatFan78

    I do think the Prius story sounds fishy. I don’t remember that the Prius had any SUA issues in the NHTSA database.

    And Carperson, the issues didn’t spike in 2002 and stay there. Actually look at the data and quit spreading falsehood. Yes there was a spike in 2002 and 2007. Other years, the Toyota SUA complaints were quiet low. Actually lower than Ford the last 5 years.

    And don’t quote Safety Research and Sean Kane. He admitted before congress, he is a paid gun. He is getting paid by 5 attorneys that are suing Toyota. I saw an autoresearch site over the weekend, that analyzed some of Sean Kanes report to congress. Kane submitted 1,000 cases of what he claimed with SUA in Toyota’s. The car research site, said 7 of the first 10 that Kane submitted were bogus (70%). One was a freedom of information act. One was from Senator Feinstein asking Toyota to look into an issue for one of here constitutents. A couple were actually about the cruise control, etc.

    All automakers have hundreds, if not thousands of SUA complaints. Don’t you think that Toyota, GM, Ford, etc would find and fix the problem? It would be much better for Toyota reputation wise and money wise to just fix the problem. They are spending billions probably on floor mats and pedal repairs. Why would they not fix this if they could find it. Especially since most of these theories think it is a “Software” issue. If that were the case, Toyota could reprogram all their computers quickly and rather cheaply. Notice how quick they came up with a software fix for the Prius brake issue? And how quickly they fixed those users cars?

    There is a lot of mis-information out there.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      I submit the Paul Niedermeyer/David42 tables and charts. Please review the cyan line on the “ANY type of vehicle speed incident” chart. I believe you will find my comments, although from memory, accuracy reflect the information on this chart.

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/nhtsa-data-dive-2-ua-rates-1990-2009-by-manufacturer-updated-with-new-charts/#more-347666

      Safety and Research mined the NHTSA data and records like many others. The 180 page report is what they found, not what they created or paid someone else to create. Read it to page 35 and tell me you are not sick to your stomach.

  • avatar
    Renard

    Think carefully about this.

    The victim is wearing a “Corvette Owners Club of America”…. and he does not know how to stop a run away car??

    I think he did not expect his car to be impounded and to be carefully reviewed & analyzed.

    Maybe a reality show aspirant, ‘a la’ balloon boy fame. Time will tell…. but YOU have to see the Foxie “create the news” interview to appreciate the ‘fame’ seeker . . . . it’s all part of new age, “panem et circenses”.

    Renard, aka ‘Doubting Thomas’

    • 0 avatar
      OB 50

      If he drives a Prius and wears a Corvette jacket, you know this guy has an automatic.

      I find it perfectly plausible that he would still have absolutely no idea how to drive a car.

  • avatar
    mcs

    “Neibert told Sikes after the CHP caught up with him to shift to neutral but the driver shook his head no. Sikes told reporters he didn’t go into neutral because he worried the car would flip.”

    stationwagon mentioned this quote earlier. Here’s a link to the story: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gc_pIFqke7WxQovY3MnhcyIYiLgwD9EBMC1G0

    Here’s a link to the 911 tape:
    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/video/listen-911-tape-94-mph-san-diego-incident-10057728

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    A sound bite of this buffoon on the radio this morning had him claiming he was afraid if he shifted into neutral the car would “go into reverse”. I remember this because it caused me to scream at the radio in response to the stupidity of the statement.

    There may be a problem here, but it’s not with this Prius.

    Remember the girl in the Kia who claimed she couldn’t stop her Sephia? Turned out she also couldn’t make the payments and wanted the company to take the car back so she started making the 911 “I can’t stop my car” phone call. It was all a lie and I think she might have gotten jail time or some sort of probation. One of the 60 minutes/Dateline type of shows covered it back in the 90s.

    Sorry:that’s not brake linings you smell [in this case] just good old fashioned fraud.

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    Putting your car in neutral makes it flip? Who knew?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Methinks there’s a lot of Toyota owners out there who need to get out from under their payments and are taking advantage of this situation.

    Methinks there’s also a lot of clueless drivers who bought Toyotas who really shouldn’t be driving at all. They’re just not wired for it. Add a little fear into their lives and a huge chunk of distraction, and something bad happens.

    Add in an unverifiable database at NHTSA, and a few bad apples who might have made suspect reports.

    Then there’s the media. In the old days, if a celebrity said, “Hey, my Prius zooms when it’s supposed to not zoom,” then a real journalist would have said, “Show me.” That hasn’t happened.

    It’s America illustrating our culture of “I’m not responsible for my own actions.”

    The upside? Other than a lot of clueless Toyota owners/leasees, who bought the cars because they’re ambivalent about cars or hate cars, most people don’t care about this. The legions of Prius driving eco-weenies in my town don’t care. I know someone else who bought a new Prius last week and was able to get a great deal.

  • avatar
    Morea

    Here is a link to the Car and Driver website were they do a few experiments on the brake vs throttle question:

    http://www.caranddriver.com/features/09q4/how_to_deal_with_unintended_acceleration-tech_dept

    Summary: In all cases the brakes win, even when the car is traveling at 100 mph at full throttle. Only for the case of the 540 hp Rousch Mustang was there an increase in stopping distance greater than three times normal.

    (I am not affliated with C&D, but it is nice to see a car mag doing some real reporting!)

    • 0 avatar
      bmoredlj

      I read this test and was intrigued by Toyota’s shortcomings vis-à-vis the keyless ignition button. The average Toyota driver panicking while experiencing UA will not possess the wherewithal to hold that button for 3.3 seconds, along with the fact rapid-fire pressing of the Camry’s button did nothing while the Infiniti’s shut down after 3 hits…which is a good safety feature that takes panic into account. Worse still, the Toyota’s ETC apparently doesn’t have software to close the throttle if brakes are applied, as it did in an Infiniti.

      In any case, it seems Toyota drivers aren’t getting the very basic message that firmly depressing and holding the brakes will definitely stop the car, even without throttle shutdown. They’re either too thick to listen, too greedy to let an opportunity slide, or in most cases, too panicky to comply.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    -The typical Prius driver is upscale, educated and usually upper income. In other words, the typical Prius driver does not fit the profile of a typical grocery store “slip and fall” plaintiff.

    I don’t think “upscale, educated or upper income has anything to do with being smart, well adjusted or immune to making unethical decisions for personal gain. Not at all. These types ran GM for years.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    When I saw the piece that ABC had on their world news last night the first thought that came to my mind is why didn’t the driver turn off the engine? Besides ignoring what the CHP deputy instructed him to do you mean in thirty miles this guy never thought to turn the engine off? At the time I didn’t know he also owned a Corvette. There is some HD BS in this incident. Besides the claim that the car may flip if put into neutral which in itself is completely absurd failing to turn the engine off in that amount of time is equally absurd. This guy is either a con artist or the world’s biggest jackass and maybe both.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    “Safety and Research mined the NHTSA data and records like many others. The 180 page report is what they found, not what they created or paid someone else to create. Read it to page 35 and tell me you are not sick to your stomach.”

    Oh, I got sick to my stomach long before page 35. Nothing but conjectures stated as facts, assumption of bias left unproven, usage of SUA events to appeal to the readers emotions to support pre-decided conclusions by the authors – THIS is what passes for an official research document? What a cluster-f**k.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      I can agree that some of the word choices were not unbiased, such as the use of “questioned” vs. “interviewed” vs. “interrogated”. A few other examples can be pointed out. I expected some of that: I just blew it off. Look past it.

      What I focused on was the reports of what was the complaint and how NHTSA and Toyota spun it into a non-problem or floormats.

      Nothing, including the floor mats out of the car, in the trunk, or secured by nylon tie wraps stopped NHTSA and Toyota from claiming in writing, including the Federal Register, the problem was “All-Weather floor mats on top of the regular carpets”. Regardless of the complaint, this was trotted out over and over and over and over and over and over. This is the point I found so sickening.

      The guy with the ski boots, being told he was pressing both pedals checked it out and no, it was not really possible? Didn’t stop NHTSA and Toyota claiming mats and the boots.

    • 0 avatar
      Accazdatch

      Carperson:
      Ski boots?

      That person was John McElroy on Autolinedetroit.com. When his show aired last Thursday, they ran film showing his feet, with as big as the boots are, that’s its very possible to put your feet on the brake.. AND hit the gas at the same time.

      But what aggravates the living hell out of me.. is these god damn MATS. I have a standard tan set on my 00 Accord.. and they stay PUT. I have the standard carpeting, and those cheap 20dollar pepboys mats stay put.

      Shit, I cant even imagine them creeping, that’s what the cleat things on the back are for. And my carpet ones are in the trunk.
      But the concept that all of this shit, they say is happening because of the stupid mats.

      Someone is sharing the good shit to a LOT of people.. cause the NHTSA should be going over these damn cars with a fine toothed comb.

      But the point Ive been trying to find is..
      Why are they recalling ONLY certain vehicles.
      Certain yr Camries.
      Certain yr Corollas
      Certain yr Prius
      Each of those cars.. has at least 3 issues to deal with.

      Id like to know why they arent recalling earlier models.
      Why someone isn’t evaluating the earlier units and going, “Umm boss.. this box and that box have the same serial # and that number is in this and THAT CAR… and they are both X# of years old.”

      NTM, they aren’t recalling the cars built on the Camry frame (ES / Avalon / Highlander / RX / Venza / Sienna). And they cant tell me with a straight face that the pius Prius doesn’t use the same basic parts as the last gen units…

      I just hate being lied to.. or dumbed down, and that’s exactly the shit they are trying to pull with these damn MATS / pedals. Trying to play it off as if its just a set of mats. Then again.. if these fuckers buy the damn car cause its safe, then they truly have another thing coming!

    • 0 avatar
      1996MEdition

      Corolla/Matrix are essentially the same vehicle. More importantly, the Pontiac Vibe is a Matrix rebadge. Where is the Vibe recall? Are there Vibe SUA’s? The ECU’s & pedals are exactly the same….so if it is an ECU or pedal issue then where are the Vibe SUA’s?

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      @ Accazdatch
      CarPerson: Skyboots??

      What, when discussing tactile-feedback footwear, ski boots don’t readily come to mind?

      I had to marvel the guy was driving in them then has the brass to admit this to NHTSA. In any event, NHTSA stamped it with their pat answer: “All-Weather floormats on top of the regular floormats.”

    • 0 avatar
      Accazdatch

      CarPerson…

      I have discovered.. that the NHTSA did a really shitty job, and no actual matter that its a part of the govt.. ya cant rely on them to watch over the auto industry.

      And honestly..
      It wouldn’t occur to me to think of snow / ski boots.
      Id just like to know why the pedals are spaced futher apart.

      P.S
      Are you acknowledging about McElroy and the boots.. or the stupidity of the NHTSA.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Why is it that it’s only: “Either Sikes went to the dealer for other reasons, in which case they were correct to turn him away. Or he’s making it up.”

    Is it not also and equally plausible that Toyota is making mistakes regarding who they’re sending recall information to? I’m neither ready to commit or aquit the driver however I will question why, Paul, you didn’t posit this alternate scenario.

    I agree the hysteria to crucify Toyota is stupid but so too is any accusation accusing the driver of lying.

    “Innocent before proven guilty” much?

  • avatar

    Do more research into Sikes.

    SAN DIEGO — As Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration investigate Jim Sikes’ Prius, 10News looked into the obstacles Sikes may face going forward.

    Sikes made the TV network rounds following his ordeal with his runaway Prius on Monday. In the meantime, the California Highway Patrol said they would leave the credibility of his story to federal investigators.

    10News uncovered files from Sikes’ 2008 Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and criminologist Suzanne Goodney Lea said anyone who reports problems with Toyotas is likely to come under additional scrutiny.

    “Seems like an easy way to cash in and make a lot of money,” said Lea.

    While no on is claiming Sikes wants to cash in, experts said he may face questions because of his financial situation.

    According to his bankruptcy records, he had a $700,000 debt. Additionally, his debts included two homes he was upside down to the tune of $240,000. He had credit card debt to deal with, including $12,000 owed to Bank of America, $38,000 owed to Citibank and $15,000 owed to Discover.

    Cntd.
    http://www.10news.com/news/22804088/detail.html

    This is interesting too:
    http://www.egmcartech.com/2010/03/10/runaway-toyota-prius-owner-is-corvette-owners-club-member-911-call-released/

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      Jimmy and his buddies may have thought this was a great gag to play on Toyota. He may have a different view if Toyota comes around looking for a contribution to help pay for the $2B people are claiming the UA issus is costing them.

      He may find himself upside down in more than just his houses, like the barrel he may may end up wearing.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    If I ever get in trouble, remind me never to never ask for a jury. The guy is in the REAL ESTATE business. In case you haven’t heard, lots of builders, developers, property owners and banks are having problems because of the downturn in REAL ESTATE business. Duh!

  • avatar
    bocaguy99

    I have a 2007 Prius that I love. On Monday, the car started to ‘jump/surge’ forward a few feet when I brake. I removed the mat, etc.

    I brought the car to the dealer and got the same story. The service writer confirmed it. The service writer told me I shouldn’t drive the car until after the recall. He then realized the recall wasn’t out yet and then told me it was OK to drive.

    For the Prius, there is also a software update he told me.

    The guy in CA, I think, did not know how to put his car in Neutral. You have to hold the stick for a few seconds for the Prius to go to Neutral….

  • avatar
    K.T. Keller

    Back in the ’80’s Toyota used to have a tag line on all of their TV commercials; “YOU ASKED FOR IT, YOU GOT IT, TOYOTA”! I guess it works both ways! Their stumbling and bumbling around on the runaway acceleration problem with their stupid carpeting response and their lack of candor has now brought on all of the crooks and liars looking for $$$. So, it would seem that they asked for it and got it, TOYOTA!

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