Toyota will hold a public test on March 8 of its technology with the aim of rebutting allegations by a vocal critic that an electronic defect can cause runaway crashes. The company says that its electronic control system is not the cause of unintended acceleration blamed for dozens of deaths.
The world's largest automaker will stage a demonstration, broadcast over the Internet, in the Los Angeles area o disprove claims by a U.S. expert of an electronics problem, said Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco.
Toyota on March 6 issued a statement refuting allegations by Professor David W. Gilbert, a professor of automotive technology at Southern Illinois University, that Toyota and Lexus vehicles may have an electronics design flaw. Gilbert, who says he has been involved with automotive diagnostics and troubleshooting for almost 30 years, told U.S .Congress last month that he was able to replicate unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles in experiments.
But the carmaker dismissed his findings, saying he had re-engineered and rewired the signals from the accelerator pedal. "This rewired circuit is highly unlikely to occur naturally and can only be contrived in a laboratory. There is no evidence to suggest that this highly unlikely scenario has ever occurred in the real world," Toyota said.
Two U.S. lawmakers on a committee looking into the Japanese auto giant's woes asked the company on March 5 for documents backing up its position that electronic defects were not to blame for acceleration problems. "We do not understand the basis for Toyota's repeated assertions that it is 'confident' there are no electronic defects contributing to incidents of sudden unintended acceleration," U.S. lawmakers Representatives Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak wrote to the company.
U.S .regulators said on March 4 that they had received more than 60 complaints from Toyota owners reporting they experienced sudden unintended acceleration despite having their recalled vehicle repaired by a Toyota dealer. Toyota said it took the reports "extremely seriously" but had found no evidence that the problem was persisting.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010
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