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 Toyota acceleration woes not electronic: U.S.

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PostSubject: Toyota acceleration woes not electronic: U.S.   Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:18 pm

Toyota acceleration woes not electronic: U.S.
A U.S. government investigation into Toyota safety problems has found
no electronic flaws to account for reports of sudden, unintentional
Transportation officials and engineers with NASA say two mechanical
safety defects previously identified by the government — sticking
accelerator pedals and gas pedals that can become trapped in floor mats
— are the only known causes for the reports of runaway Toyotas.

Toyota has recalled more than 12 million vehicles globally since late
2009 to address sticking accelerator pedals, gas pedals that became
trapped in floor mats, and other safety issues. The recalls have posed
a major challenge for the world's No. 1 automaker, which has scrambled
to protect its reputation for safety and reliability.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the department's 10-month
study has concluded there is no electronic-based cause of unintended
high-speed acceleration in Toyotas.

"Our conclusion, that Toyota’s problems were mechanical, not
electrical, comes after one of the most exhaustive, thorough and
intensive research efforts ever undertaken," LaHood said in a statement.

FAQ: Toyota recalls

A preliminary part of the study, released last August, also failed to
find any electronic flaws based on a review of data recorders, or
vehicle black boxes.

Toyota's safety issues received broad attention from the government
after four people were killed in a high-speed crash involving a Lexus
near San Diego in August 2009.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received about 3,000
reports of sudden acceleration incidents involving Toyota vehicles
during the past decade, including allegations of 93 deaths. NHTSA,
however, has confirmed just five of them.

The company has already implemented a host of new designs in its
vehicles, including a brake override system that cuts the throttle when
the gas and brake pedals are deployed at the same time. The company has
already paid a record $48.8 million in fines for its handling of the

In Tokyo on Tuesday, Toyota reported a 39 per cent slide in quarterly
profit but raised its full-year forecasts for earnings and car sales.
It's a mixed picture for the automaker, which is enjoying booming sales
in high-growth markets in Asia, Africa and South America, while facing
lingering safety worries in the key U.S. market.

Toyota's New York Stock Exchange-listed stock had been trading lower on
the bad earnings news but was up more than four per cent, to $89 US, in
the minutes following the release of the safety probe's findings.

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