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Friday, January 29, 2010

US Congress to investigate Toyota after 19 deaths

U.S. lawmakers moved Thursday to investigate the gas- pedal problems that prompted Toyota Motor Corp this week to suspend the production and sale of some of its most popular models.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee said it would hold a hearing Feb. 25 " to examine persistent consumer complaints" about unintended acceleration of vehicles that led to the Japanese auto maker's largest-ever safety recall. The committee said it would also look into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's response to the matter. The announcement followed days of meetings among committee members, Toyota and NHTSA officials.

""While our meeting with Toyota officials yesterday was helpful, we continue to have questions about what was done to investigate and resolve this safety issue both by Toyota and NHTSA," Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.), chairman of the committee's oversight and investigations panel, said. "Incidences of sticking accelerators have been ongoing with Toyota vehicles for up to a decade, and have led to a disproportionally high number of deaths. Failure to take every step possible to prevent future deaths or injury is simply unacceptable."

A statement put out by Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), the Energy & Commerce Committee chairman, said that "sudden acceleration events" in Toyota vehicles have led to 19 deaths in the past decade, nearly twice the number of deaths associated with similar events in cars manufactured by all other automakers combined. The statement said that information was based on NHTSA statistics.

Toyota said in a statement that the auto maker "planned full cooperation" with the committee.

"Helping ensure the safety of our customers and restoring confidence in Toyota are very important to our company," the company said.

Stupak and Waxman said they wrote to Toyota and NHTSA requesting information and documents showing when they first learned of potential safety defects and what actions were taken to address them.

An NHTSA spokeswoman said her agency will cooperate with the committee's review of the matter.

Stupak said his staff has been meeting with officials at Toyota and the U.S. Department of Transportation about the issue and that all sides planned to meet again Thursday.

Wednesday, Toyota said it was expanding a recall announced late last year involving pedals catching on floor mats. That recall originally affected 4.3 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles, making it the company's biggest recall ever. Toyota has added 1.1 million more vehicles to that recall, representing four models. The Prius is not involved in this temporary suspension of sales, but it looks like the Highlander Hybrid's sales are suspended.

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1 comment:

SBT SEO said...

Well that is a bad news for Toyota. I guess they have miss to include one of the most important thing in producing a car or maybe they just lack of quality testing? Or maybe they limit the time span in testing in order to deliver it on time. That was just a conclusion. But really they should be focus on the safety of their customers or else they might lose a lot.

Japanese Used Car Exporter

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