Toyota and the NHTSA have been aware of unintended-acceleration incidents with regard to the Lexus ES 350 since at least 2007. Regulators concluded that it was due to a floor mat defect, a recall of about 55,000 floor mats was declared, and the case was closed.
Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., told congressional investigators that the company first knew of sticking accelerator problems in October, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., is unhappy with the contradiction, and citing his awareness of reports that disclose sticky accelerator issues dated as early as 2004, is calling into question ToMoCo”s candidness and honesty.
A hearing is scheduled for February 25th whereby Toyota will answer questions before congress.
“We believe our statements have been consistent, and we will endeavor to explain this to the committees next week,” Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight said in response to Stupak”s statements.
In a letter to Toyota this week, Stupak and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., have asked the company to reconcile conflicting statements as company officials have mentioned in private conversation with congressional committee staff members that there were internal doubts as to the causes of the issue.
In a separate letter from Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., Toyota was asked to furnish information dating back to 2001 pertaining to complaints of unintended acceleration and other matters.
– By: Stephen Calogera
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)