SUA? Toyota Does The Smart Thing

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
sua toyota does the smart thing

Toyota is still smarting from a heavy decking it has received from Congress, the NHTSA, lawyers, and the press. Toyota’s answer? Let’s get SMART!

The Nikkei [sub] reports that Toyota U.S.A. has established a special team that responds to unintended acceleration problems within 24 hours of customers reporting them.

Toyotas rapid reaction force is called SMART, as in Swift Market Analysis Response Team. What sounds like a unit for ad-hoc focus groups, is actually at team of 200 Toyota engineers and other experts across the U.S. It’s Toyota’s answer to NEST, the Nuclear Emergency Support Team.

When the read alert is sounded, “product engineers, field technical specialists and specially trained technicians will quickly and aggressively investigate customer reports of unintended acceleration,” as the official Toyota announcement goes.

Steve St. Angelo, Toyota chief quality officer for North America, said: “As we did in two recent, much-publicized cases in San Diego, California and Harrison, New York, we will continue to work in close partnership with law enforcement agencies and federal regulators with jurisdiction over accidents whenever requested.”

So if your Toyota develops a mind of its own: Put it in neutral, slam on the brakes, and hope Toyota will do the SMART thing. U.S. only. In other markets, you have to rely on your own smarts.

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5 of 18 comments
  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Apr 11, 2010

    Those smarties are a british version of M&Ms.

    • Tricky Dicky Tricky Dicky on Apr 12, 2010

      They're not exactly the same as you can get M&Ms in the UK too. I think they are nicer tasting ;-)

  • FRANKOK FRANKOK on Apr 12, 2010

    Will Toyota submit findings documented in their "BOK" ? Anybody have a copy? I would bet a whistle-blower could save a lot of lives - with information redacted not related to the SUA incidents with over 50 deaths so far in the USA. excerpt from: "Additionally, the committee found multiple references to secret, electronic Books of Knowledge in which Toyota engineers protected design and testing data for vehicles and parts. Hester acknowledged the existence of the Books of Knowledge, or "BOK," and said Toyota has never turned them over to lawyers suing Toyota or to NHTSA. Hester said the Books of Knowledge are searched during civil lawsuits for any material the company is legally required to disclose."

  • Brettc Brettc on Apr 12, 2010

    Smarties are also available in Canada, which is why the labelling on the picture is bilingual. Other interesting Canadian food items are: Shreddies, Kraft Dinner, Coffee Crisp bars, Mr. Big bars, Decadent chocolate chip cookies, etc. I could go on. There's so much good Canada-only food. Anyway, back to the original article. Toyota pretty much is doing a CYA move. Their sales are up, but they're also using a lot of incentives to move vehicles. I'm thinking they want to drop the incentives as soon as they can and the SMART thing will hopefully be enough to assure the drivers that Toyota really cares about them. Even though they might be idiots...someone has to care for the idiots. I wonder if Toyota will start offering GM/Ford/Chrysler vouchers for the "victims" of SUA to make them go away. I can only imagine what would happen to Chrysler if the big story changed to SUA happening in Sebrings or Cherokees.

  • CarPerson CarPerson on Apr 12, 2010

    Every time another case of “driver error” is documented, it points to the fact that certain Toyota pedal configurations are poorly designed for a small but significant percent of drivers. At 24 times the average of comparable vehicles (in some cases), this is not exactly a leap some would have you believe. We are NOT dealing with rocket science here but Toyota baiting every mis-direction they can come up with. Their “All old drivers are stupid and confused!” has a lot of appeal for a small but vocal group of people. The “It’s people working a scam to cash in!” rings the bell for many too. You see a few, but by and large this doesn't feed the bulldog. Don’t drink the Toyota Kool-Aide. I’m expecting sometime down the road it will be revealed that every member of the SMART team had to sign a 3-page document agreeing to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER even hint that pedal ergonomics has a role in this. Break up the trio of too close together, to similar in height, and too similar in tactile feedback and the “driver error” problem will drop to comparable numbers or nearly vanish. Heaven forbid Toyota offer new throttle and brake pedals to those who want the issue addressed in a proper, professional, and permanent manner.