Saturday, February 12, 2011

No electronic flaws found in Toyota accelerations

DETROIT — In a study released Tuesday by the Department of Transportation, NASA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles capable of producing the large throttle openings required to create dangerous high-speed unintended acceleration incidents.

“We enlisted the best and brightest engineers to study Toyota’s electronics systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high speed accelerations in Toyotas,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
The findings represent a major victory for Toyota, which has recalled about 8.5 million vehicles worldwide to repair or replace accelerator pedals or improperly placed floor mats. The NASA team, which included experts in fields such as electromagnetic interference, agreed that any problems likely are limited to the mechanical issues Toyota has addressed.

The company did not immediately release a comment. But David Champion, head of Consumer Reports magazine’s auto testing lab, said it is good news not just for Toyota, but for the entire industry.

“All manufacturers use electronic throttles, so if this study didn’t find a problem with Toyota’s throttle controls, then the other automakers have to be breathing a sigh of relief,” Champion said.

The study results were announced the same day Toyota reported a 39 percent decline in quarterly profits, but raised its forecast for profits for its full fiscal year, which ends March 31.

The Japanese automaker earned $1.1 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, down 39 percent from a year earlier.

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