Toyota refutes CNN report on failsafe software error memo

Article by Anita Panait, on March 5, 2012

Toyota Motor Corp. denied a report by CNN saying that its engineers informed the Japan-based carmaker in 2006 that they discovered faulty software that caused sudden inadvertent acceleration in tests. Citing a Japanese internal memo at Toyota, the CNN report stated that tests of a pre-production model showed that there is a need to improve the failsafe for the electronics that influences the car’s cruise control.According to Toyota, it intentionally introduced the error to test its systems, and CNN had mistranslated the internal memo. 

“The report makes it sound as though we were not reviewing and improving our cars before they went on sale, and that is not true,” said Executive Vice President Shinichi Sasaki, adding that Toyota reviews the results of “failsafe stress tests” to make improvements during the development of a car.

In a statement issued in the United States last week, Toyota said that the CNN report attempts to “resurrect the discredited, scientifically unproven allegation” that their electronic throttle control system contains a hidden defect that can cause unintended acceleration.

Toyota noted that sudden unintended acceleration was neither mentioned nor referenced in the original Japanese document. John Hanson, a spokesman for Toyota’s U.S. unit, said the concerned memo described internal tests of the adaptive cruise-control system to observe its response in case of a fault at the pedal sensor. CNN didn’t say how it got a copy of the memo. In 2009 and 2010, the company was forced to recall a record of over 8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles worldwide following reports of sudden unintended acceleration.

The company and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. conducted an investigation of the electronic throttle controls, which transmit signals from the accelerator to the engine, as a possible cause. The NHTSA, however, closed the probe after determining that there is no conclusive link between electronics flaws and unintended acceleration claims. [source: Autonews]

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