toyota e mail

received this email today
Note that GM vehicles have a much better unintended acceleration record, per the article being fwd'd:
"A Consumer Reports analysis of 166 sudden-acceleration complaints to
federal safety regulators for 2008 found they came from 22 brands, but 41% came from Toyota or Lexus models. That was more than Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, and Nissan combined."
"Unintended acceleration remains a rare phenomenon. Based on the Consumer Reports study,..., about one of every 50,000 Toyota owners experienced it. That compares with one of every 65,000 Ford owners and just one in every 500,000 GM vehicles sold in that period. But when it does happen, and the brake can't take control, the consequences can be dire."
Detroit Free Press Greg Gardner Feb. 1, 2010
In today's complex cars, a cell phone, satellite radio or even a restaurant's large microwave could -- in theory -- cause the accelerator to surge out of control, according to engineers familiar with electronic engine technology.
And the problem is not limited to Toyota, which is reeling from a recall over unintended-acceleration issues that forced it to stop selling eight models last week.
"This problem is well-known to all automakers. If you can solve this problem, you would be a multibillionaire," said John Liu, a Wayne State University professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Toyota is phasing in a brake override system on new cars and installing it on select models going back to 2007. Some competitors already offer some form of that technology, enabling a driver to rein in any unexplained surge by stepping on the brake.
Unintended acceleration happens rarely; floor mats, driver error and faulty gas pedals may be contributing factors.
But most automotive engines today are governed by sensor-driven throttle systems. Controlled by finely calibrated software, the systems can be thrown out of whack by signals from cell phones or microwave towers, engineering experts said.
Regulators struggle to pin down the problem because replicating the incidents is nearly impossible.
Liu compares the problem with the jamming of signals on military aircraft.
"The problem is, the expertise for preventing signal jamming rests in the Department of Defense, not the automakers or their suppliers," Liu said.
Toyota trails competitors in safe-brake technology
Toyota has been hit disproportionately hard by unintended-acceleration problems because it has been slower than some competitors in introducing braking technology that could have prevented it, according to safety records and consumer advocates.
The problem has occurred in almost every manufacturer's vehicles. A Consumer Reports analysis of 166 sudden-acceleration complaints to federal safety regulators for 2008 found they came from 22 brands, but 41% came from Toyota or Lexus models. That was more than Chrysler, General Motors, Honda and Nissan combined.
All complaints analyzed were filed before Aug. 28, 2009, more than a month before Toyota's recall of floor mats that could become trapped in accelerator pedals.
"You can't wash it away on the basis of probability and blame it on Toyota's growth," said Sean Kane, a safety researcher for Safety Research and Strategies in Rehoboth, Mass. "They certainly need to apply the brake-override technology on all vehicles with electronic throttle control."
Kane's firm has compiled regulatory and accident data back to 1999 that it said shows 2,262 complaints, 815 crashes, 314 injuries and 19 deaths attributable to sudden acceleration in Toyota-produced vehicles.
What Toyota has done
Although Toyota has urged replacement of floor mats or gas pedals, engineers familiar with engine technology said electromagnetic interference from a range of devices, including cell phones and microwave towers, can disrupt the electronic signals to the electronic throttle control system, which controls the accelerator.
"We have not found any evidence that electronic throttle control systems have been a cause," Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said. "The systems have multiple redundancies and fail-safes and would store an error code in the case of a fault."
In November, Toyota announced it would offer a brake-override system to owners of 2007 through 2010 models of Camry, Avalon, Lexus ES350 and IS250. The system also will be standard on all new Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles by the end of 2010, Michels said.
The override technology cancels any signal that triggers an unplanned burst of acceleration. Chrysler offers what it calls "smart-brake" technology on every model except the Chrysler PT Cruiser, a company spokesman said. Nissan incorporates a similar feature in all its models, said company spokesman Fred Standish. General Motors and Ford did not respond to requests for information Friday.
Many luxury automakers, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz, incorporate an electronic offset to their computerized engine-control technology because they can sell vehicles at a price high enough to cover the added cost. Honda and Acura do not.
A rare, dangerous occurrence
Unintended acceleration remains a rare phenomenon. Based on the Consumer Reports study of 2008 complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about one of every 50,000 Toyota owners experienced it. That compares with one of every 65,000 Ford owners and just one in every 500,000 GM vehicles sold in that period.
But when it does happen, and the brake can't take control, the consequences can be dire.
Last year, shortly before Toyota's first recall on the issue, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer, Mark Saylor, along with his wife, teenage daughter and brother-in-law, died when a 2009 Lexus ES350 surged up to 120 m.p.h. in the middle of rush-hour traffic in San Diego.
The day after Christmas, four people in a 2008 Toyota Avalon died in Southlake, Texas, when the driver lost control, and the car left the road, crashing through a fence and landing upside-down in a pond. Police found the floor mat in the trunk.
Chuck Eaton, a retired industrial engineer in Greer, S.C., said he has experienced a surge in his 2006 Toyota Tacoma three or four times, usually in warmer weather, when he deactivates the cruise control at between 65 and 70 m.p.h., then quickly resets it. But it has never happened in his wife's 2004 Toyota Camry.
"The closest I came to an accident was when I drove into a curve, and the engine revved from about 2,100 RPM to about 4,500 RPM before I could react with the brakes," Eaton said. "It did scare me."
Eaton said the floor mat was never caught in his truck's accelerator in any of those experiences.
Other potential causes
Safety advocates and other critics said there may be multiple potential causes for sudden acceleration, and therefore, multiple solutions. But the most puzzling potential cause is electromechanical interference.
Each electronic throttle control component determines the appropriate position based on signals from three or four sensors. That communication can be disrupted by signals from a nearby Blackberry, a microwave or radio transmission tower, said John Liu, a Wayne State University professor of electronics and computer engineering who has consulted on this technology for automakers.
For now, the brake-override technology may be the best available solution.
"We still don't completely understand why it's happening or the root causes," Kane said.
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On 04/02/2010 2:58 PM, Tom wrote:

Does not mater what the administration wants to do to pick on Toyota. Fact remains Toyota came clean and GM & Ford did not until it became public. And GM isn't even collecting safety stats any more are they? Anyone know if GM has issues a recall on ANY of their products before bankruptcy? Not all is as it seems.
We do know plastic manifold 3800s - your screwed.
I will never buy or rent a GM ever again. Now get greedy GM out of my pocket.
BTW Chrylser is reputed to get parts from the same US manufacter as did Toyota, GM and Ford. CAW made even. Funny how the same one made in Japan hasn't shown any problems.
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Once again our friend Canuck57 is telling us the sky is falling

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What did Ford and GM have to come clean about? I think ever manufacturer has had complaints of sudden acceleration. Most have tried to address the problem. The NHTSA Database is availabel at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/complaints/ . You can download the compelte complaint database if you wish.
Since I own a 2007 Ford Fusion, I was interested to see what sort of acceleration problems were listed against that model. There were several complaints that the accelerator pedal was "touchy" or hard to control. There were no complaints that the car ran away in the same manner as is claimed for some Toyota models. Here are all the "accelerator control" complaints I saw for a 2007 Ford Fusion:
THE VEHICLE RESPONSE TO THE ACCELERATOR IS UNPREDICTABLE AND ALWAYS DELAYED. SOMETIMES THE CAR WILL INTERPRET A SMALL QUICK DEPRESSION OF THE ACCELERATOR THE SAME AS FLOORING THE ACCELERATOR. THERE IS ALWAYS A DELAY OF TWO TO THREE SECONDS BEFORE IT RESPONDS AT ALL. THE SAME ACTION CAN RESULT IN WIDELY VARYING RESPONSES OF THE ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION, APPARENTLY DEPENDING ON THE TEMPERATURE OF THE AIR AND ENGINE. THE ACCELERATOR IS VERY TOUCHY AND SEEMS TO USE ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF THE MOVEMENT. THAT COUPLED WITH THE TRANSMISSION CONSTANTLY SHIFTING TO SET THE ENGINE SPEED AT NEAR IDLE IN ALL BUT FREEWAY DRIVING MAKES MANUALLY CONTROLLING THE SPEED WITHIN 5 MILES PER HOUR WHEN NEAR A SHIFT POINT ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. THE CONSTANT SHIFTING AND REFUSAL TO SLOW DOWN WHEN THE ACCELERATOR IS RELEASED MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO MANUALLY CONTROL THE SPEED OF THE VEHICLE ACCURATELY ON HILLY ROADS. THIS IS A CONTINUOUS PROBLEM, NOT A ONE DAY EVENT. *TR
THE VEHICLE DOES NOT RESPOND TO THE COMMANDS OF THE DRIVER IN A TIMELY FASHION AND THE RESPONSE IS UNPREDICTABLE. WHILE WAITING TO MAKE A LEFT TURN FROM A FOUR LANE UNDIVIDED CITY STREET, A PEDESTRIAN CROSSED IN FRONT OF ME IN A CROSSWALK. AFTER THE PEDESTRIAN HAD CROSSED, I PROCEEDED TO MAKE A LEFT TURN BUT THE PEDESTRIAN DID NOT STOP. INSTEAD, HE MADE A SUDDEN TURN TO HIS RIGHT AND PROCEEDED ACROSS THE CROSSWALK WITHOUT LOOKING. I STOPPED PART WAY ACROSS THE INSIDE LANE OF ONCOMING TRAFFIC. THE PEDESTRIAN STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CROSSWALK, LOOKED AT ME AND WAVED WHILE ONCOMING TRAFFIC APPROACHED. HE THEN PROCEEDED THE REST OF THE WAY ACROSS THE CROSSWALK. IN ORDER TO AVOID A HEAD ON COLLISION FROM A CAR THAT TURNED LEFT INTO THE ONCOMING INSIDE LANE AND RACED TOWARD ME, I GAVE THE ACCELERATOR A QUICK NUDGE PART WAY DOWN. THE VEHICLE REDLINED THE ENGINE AND BURNED RUBBER. THE SAME INPUT FROM THE DRIVER TWO DAYS BEFORE WHEN IT WAS COLD WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN A SLUGGISH RESPONSE. I RELEASED THE ACCELERATOR, AND THE VEHICLE CONTINUED TO SPIN THE TIRES ON THE DRY PAVEMENT, PROPELLING THE CAR FORWARD TOWARD THE PEDESTRIAN WHO WAS ABOUT ONE STEP FROM THE SIDEWALK ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET. I BARELY MANAGED TO STEER THE VEHICLE AWAY FROM THE PEDESTRIAN AND FINISH THE TURN WITH MY FOOT OFF THE ACCELERATOR. IN GENERAL, THE VEHICLE DOES NOT SLOW DOWN FOR QUITE SOME TIME WHEN I RELEASE THE ACCELERATOR. THE ONLY WAY TO SLOW DOWN IN A TIMELY MANNER IS WITH THE BRAKES. *TR
THE CONTACT OWNS A 2007 FORD FUSION. WHILE DRIVING 1 MPH IN REVERSE, THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL INTERTWINED WITH HER FOOT AND SANDAL. AS A RESULT, THE VEHICLE ACCELERATED AND CRASHED INTO THE REAR DRIVER SIDE BUMPER OF ANOTHER VEHICLE. AS OF SEPTEMBER 28, 2007, THE DEALER AND MANUFACTURER HAD NOT INSPECTED THE VEHICLE. THE CONTACT FELT THAT THE DESIGN OF THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL CAUSED THE FAILURE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 27,000 AND CURRENT MILEAGE WAS 28,500.
None of these incidents resulted in any injury and only one involved property damage (the lady who was backing up and got her foot tangled in the accelerator pedal). NHTSA has not opened an investigation (probably becasue the low number of complaints and the lack of any injuries). I persoanlly have never had any accelerator pedal issues with my Fusion. I do think the accelerator response can be "lazy" at times (particualrly the transmission downshift response) but I've never had any sort of run away or sudden acceleration. THe cruise control is the best I've ever had (it does a much better job of mainting a constant speed than I can with the accelerator).
I looked up the complaints against 2007 Toyota Camry - there were many. Here is a document related to the floor mat concern:
http://nhthqnwws112.odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/docservlet/Artemis/Public/Pursuits/2007/EA/INME-EA07010-26873P.pdf
There were many other sudden acceleration complaints cleary not related to the floor mat concern. Here are a few typical complaints of all tyoes (but only a few):
I AM THE OWNER OF A 2007 TOYOTA CAMRY THAT IS PART OF BOTH RECALLS FOR THE FLOORMAT ISSUE AND THE ACCELARTION ISSUE. WHEN I FIRST PURCHASED MY CAR IN AUGUST 2007, I IMMEDIATELY NOTICED ACCELARTION PROBLEMS AND CALLED THE DEALERSHIP ABOUT IT. THE CAR WAS BROUGHT IT AND REPAIRS WERE MADE, HOWEVER, THE PROBLEM CONTINUED TO EXIST AND I WAS TOLD THAT IT WAS NOTHING SERIOUS. IN FEBRUARY 2008, WE WERE INVOLVED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT IN MY VEHICLE WITH OUR TEENAGE DAUGHTGER AN A FRIEND. WE WERE COMING TO A STOP LIGHT AND THERE WAS A CAR IN FRONT OF US AND OUR CAR CONTINUED TO ACCELARATE AND WE HIT THE BACK OF THE CAR IN FRONT OF US. THERE WAS SEVERE FRONT END DAMAGE TO MY VEHICLE, BUT THANKFULLY, NO REALLY BODILY INJURY TO THE PASSENGERS. AFTER PLACING A CALL TO THE DEALERSHIP AFTER THE ACCIDENT AND EXPLAINING THE ACCELERATION ISSUE TO THEM THAT I BELIEVE WAS THE REASON FOR THE ACCIDENT, I WAS TOLD THAT IT COULD NOT BE THE ISSUE AND THAT MY INITIAL ACCELERATION ISSUE HAD ALREADY BEEN FIXED. I HAVE FOUR CHILDREN THAT ARE IN MY CAR EVERYDAY AND I DO NOT FEEL SAFE IN MY VEHICLE. MY FLOORMAT ISSUE HAS NOT BEEN FIXED AND NEITHER HAS THE PEDAL ISSUE. I AM EXTREMELY DISSAPOINTED WITH THE WAY THIS SITUATION IS BEING HANDLED, ESPEICALLY SINCE I FIRST NOTICED THE ISSUE RIGHT AFTER THE PURCHASE OF MY CAR AND I WAS ASSURED THAT IT WAS FIXED. PLEASE ADVISE. THANKS
PROBLEM WITH ACCELERATOR STICKING AT HIGH SPEED (70 MPH); CONSIDERABLE LAG BETWEEN REMOVING FOOT FROM GAS PEDAL AND DECECELERATION. REQUIRED HARD BRAKING TO AVOID HITTING ANOTHER VEHICLE.
WHILE DRIVING 2007 CAMRY ON LEVEL ROADWAY WITH CRUISE CONTROL ON AT 70 MPH, TRANSMISSION WILL SUDDENLY DOWNSHIFT SEVERAL GEARS CAUSING CAR TO ACCELERATE AGGRESSIVELY AND ROCKET FORWARD. DURING ONE SUCH INSTANCE MY CAR LURCHED FORWARD AND ALMOST DROVE UNDER A TRACTOR TRAILER THAT WAS TRAVELING IN FRONT OF US. THIS IS AN INTERMITTENT PHENOMENON. WAS REPORTED TO TOYOTA ON 10/01/07. AN APPOINTMENT WAS SET UP FOR LOCAL DEALER TO CHECK OUT PROBLEM. AFTER TOYOTA HAD THE CAR FOR FULL DAY, THEY RESPONDED THAT THEY COULD NOT DUPLICATE THE PROBLEM. UPON PICKING UP THE CAR I FOUND THAT THEY HAD NOT DRIVEN THE CAR OFF THE DEALER LOT. UPON QUESTIONING THE SERVICE MANAGER, HOW THEY EXPECTED TO DUPLICATE THE PROBLEM WITHOUT ACTUALLY DRIVING THE CAR, HE BEGAN SCREAMING AND WAS EXTREMELY RUDE. FINALLY, HE AGREED TO AN ADDITIONAL APPOINTMENT WITH A 'TECH PERSON' THE FOLLOWING WEEK. THE PROBLEM DID NOT OCCUR WHILE THE TECH PERSON WAS RIDING IN THE CAR. THERE WAS NO FURTHER FOLLOW UP TESTING BY TOYOTA. I WILL NO LONGER USE THE CRUISE CONTROL WHILE DRIVING THIS CAMRY. NOTE: THIS CAR HAD IT'S 'SOFTWARE' UPDATED PREVIOUSLY DUE TO SLUGGISH ACCELERATION IN TRAFFIC.
THE ACCELERATOR IS VERY SLOW TO RESPOND TO PEDEL ACTION. AT VARIOUS TIMES SINCE PURCHASING THE CAR NEW IN SEPTEMBER 2006, THE CAR WILL NOT ACCELERATE FOR 4 TO 5 SECONDS AFTER THE PEDAL IS PUSHED ALMOST CAUSING NUMEROUS ACCIDENTS. THE DEALER REPLACED THE VALVE BODY AND REPROGRAMMED THE TRANSMISSION, BUT THE PROBLEM STILL REMAINS. DEALER SAYS THEY HAVE DONE ALL THAT TOYOTA HAS ALLOWED THEM TO DO.
THE CONTACT OWNS A 2007 TOYOTA CAMRY . THE CONTACT STATED THAT WHEN DRIVING AT 60 MPH WHEN WITHOUT ANY WARNING THE ACCELERATOR PETAL HIT THE FLOOR AND THE VEHICLE ACCELERATED ON ITS OWN . THE CONTACT APPLIED THE BRAKES WITH EXTREME PRESSURE BUT THE VEHICLE CONTINUED TO ACCELERATE. THE CONTACT PUT THE VEHICLE IN NEUTRAL AND PULLED TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND TURNED THE VEHICLE OFF. AFTER 5 MINUTES THE CONTACT RESTARTED THE VEHICLE AND THE FAILURE OCCURRED ONCE AGAIN.THE PETAL HIT THE FLOOR TRAVELING 70 MPH. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO THE DEALER AND WAS TRADED.THE DEALER STATED THAT THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE VEHICLE. NO REPAIRS WERE DONE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 17000.
THE CONTACT OWNED A 2007 TOYOTA CAMRY. SHE STATED WHILE TRAVELING AT SPEEDS OF 55 MPH, THE VEHICLE BEGAN TO ACCELERATE WITHOUT WARNING. SHE STATED SHE COULD FEEL THE POWER OF THE VEHICLE PULLING AT SPEEDS OF 80 MPH. SHE SEARCHED THE FLOORBOARD OF THE VEHICLE TO ENSURE THERE WAS NOTHING OBSTRUCTING THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL, THERE WAS NOT. SHE CONTINUED TO DEPRESS THE BRAKE PEDAL TO THE FLOORBOARD, TO NO AVAIL. SHE WAS THEN FACED WITH HAVING TO TAKE AN OFF RAMP AND SHE CRASHED INTO THE SIDE OF A PASSING SEMI-TRUCK AND THE VEHICLE CONTINUED TO ACCELERATE AFTER CRASHING INTO THE TRUCK. SHE THEN MADE THE DECISION TO CRASH INTO A CHAIN LINK FENCE IN AN ATTEMPT TO STOP THE VEHICLE. THE VEHICLE CAME TO A STOP ONCE IT BECAME ENTANGLED IN THE CHAIN FENCE. THE POLICE ARRIVED AT THE SCENE BUT NO REPORT WAS FILED BECAUSE THERE WERE NO INJURIES, AS STATED BY THE OFFICER AT THE SCENE. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE FAILURE AND CURRENT MILEAGES WERE UNKNOWN
I HAVE A 2007 CAMRY. TWO YEARS AGO I EXPERIENCED FULL SPEED ACCELERATION WHILE DRIVING ON THE EXPRESSWAY. IT WAS VERY SCARY I PUT FULL FORCE ON THE BRAKES BUT IT WOULDN'T STOP I DROVE ON THE SHOULDER AND FORCE THE GEARS INTO PARK. I CALLED THE TOYOTA DEALER BUT THEY KEPT SAYING CAMRY DOES NOT HAVE THAT PROBLEM. I CALLED ON NUMEROUS OCCASION AND WANTED THEM TO RECORD THE INCIDENT BUT THEY WOULDN'T. HAVING EXPERIENCE THIS TWO YEARS AGO I HAVE BEEN SO TERRIFIED TO DRIVE THE CAR I DRIVE SO SLOWLY NOW. THEY JUST IGNORED ME
Those are just a few of the many complaints of sudden acceleration against a singel year/model (2007 Camry).
Just as an aside, there were 708 complaints against the 2007 Toyota Camry (just this single year / model). The 2007 Ford Fusion has 67 compliants of all sorts. The 2007 Chevrolet Malibu only had 48 complaints of all sorts. The 2007 Nissan Altima had 104 complaints of all types. The 2007 Chrysler Sebring had 64 complaints of all sorts. The 2007 Honda Accord generated 119 complaints of all sorts
Can you really think Toyota has great quality when it has 10 times the number of complaints as the nearest domestic rival? Even assumuing that the Camry can be expected to generate more complaints becasue of the large number of sales, it is hard to see how a quality vehicle would generate 10 times the number of complaints based on even twice the sales of the domestic competitors.
Ed
Ed
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patience can tell that it's the same mantra repeated about four times to give it length, although no authority.

--
Clive


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I saw some tests not too long ago which were intended to look at the effect of cellphone radiation to electronic systems on airliners. In this particular test, the cellphone almost never caused any interference, but occasionally, and worse still not reproducibly, worrying interference did occur.
I wouldnt expect cars to be more resistant to this than airliners.
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