Right now, Toyota is in the midst of a big, expensive ad campaign touting its safety standards, due largely to the major recall concerning sudden acceleration. But it appears the world’s leading car company got one thing right: Toyota apparently diagnosed the problem correctly from the very start.
A report today in The Wall Street Journal says the NHTSA findings “support Toyota’s position that sudden-acceleration reports involving its vehicles weren’t caused by electronic glitches in computer-controlled throttle systems, as some safety advocates and plaintiffs’ attorneys have alleged.”[more]
Thus far, NHTSA found that “pedals entrapped by floor mats, and ‘sticky’ accelerator pedals that are slow to return to idle” were indeed the primary cause of sudden acceleration.The other cause noted were drivers who “were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes.”
It will be months before the NHTSA study is completed, but the early results seem to indicate that Toyota was indeed correct in diagnosing the problem which resulted in a recall of eight million cars. This doesn’t mean, of course, that Toyota is absolved of the blame — only that, at the present time, nothing beyond floor mats and sticky pedals can be verified. It also does nothing to counter the fact that Toyota failed to notify NHTSA “in a timely manner” when the problem first started to occur.
So the bottom line for Toyota pretty much remains the same. The recall was a public relations disaster that tainted Toyota’s previously stellar reputation. The NHTSA preliminary report, and the final results to come, won’t reverse the damage that has already been done. And that’s why Toyota is all over the television airwaves with its safety pitch, which you can see here.