The Washington Post's report that claims Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had known since 2007 of unintended acceleration reports in Lexus ES-350s in Ohio has added to the confusion.
The report said that of every 100 Lexus ES-350 owners in that state, at least three experienced unintended acceleration. The Post reported that the investigation concluded that only a small number of vehicles were affected.
Back then, Toyota and the NHTSA determined that the cause was the accelerator getting stuck in the grooves of all-weather floor mats.
Toyota declared a recall of about 55,000 floor mats and considered the case to be closed. The final report on this study was made on April 30, 2008. Recently, Toyota's massive recalls due to unintended acceleration have been reported widely.
In an interview with Automotive News, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. and chairman of the House Energy subcommittee on oversight, said that it is unclear just how far back the issue goes.
Stupak cited the probe in 2007 but he said that there were already reports of unintended acceleration involving Toyota cars since 2004.
This led him to question how truthful Toyota had been in addressing this problem. Toyota Motor Sales USA President James Lentz told congressional investigators that the company first learned about the problems with sticky accelerator pedals last October. [via autonews - sub. required]