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U.S. Investigators Cast New Doubt on Toyota

Investigators don't know if Toyota fully understands its accelerator problems.

In a memo to lawmakers made available on Feb. 9, U.S. investigators doubt Toyota fully understands its accelerator problems and are even less sure that new floor mats are an adequate solution.

A congressional committee is to publicly grill the Japanese automaker's top brass as well as federal regulators later this month over the safety crisis that has led to 8.7 million vehicle recalls worldwide.

Investigators briefed lawmakers from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on their preliminary analysis in a memorandum critical of both Toyota and the U.S. government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"There appears to be a growing body of evidence that neither Toyota nor NHTSA have identified all the causes of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles," said the memo dated February 5 but released on Feb. 9.

"Moreover, there is substantial evidence that remedies such as redesigned floor mats have failed to solve the problem.

"This hearing will examine the question of whether Toyota and NHTSA have failed to meet their statutory and regulatory responsibilities," the memorandum said.

The committee postponed the hearing, initially intended for Feb. 10 until February 23, because of another winter storm threatening the already snowed-under capital.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

See Also
Atop the Mountain, Toyota Facing Questions

Toyoda Takes 'Personal Responsibility' for Automaker Woes

All Toyota Brake Recall Articles

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