Toy­ota says re­call may not solve prob­lem

Cape Breton Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — The pres­i­dent of Toy­ota’s U.S. op­er­a­tions ac­knowl­edged to law­mak­ers on Tues­day that the com­pany’s re­calls of mil­lions of its cars may “not to­tally” solve the prob­lem of sud­den and danger­ous ac­cel­er­a­tion.

“ We are vig­i­lant and we con­tinue to look for po­ten­tial causes,” Toy­ota’s James Lentz told a con­gres­sional panel. How­ever, he re­peated his com­pany’s po­si­tion that stuck gas ped­als in some of the com­pany’s most pop­u­lar model cars and trucks were caused by one of two prob­lems — mis­placed floor mats or stick­ing ac­cel­er­a­tor ped­als.

He in­sisted elec­tronic sys­tems con­nected to the gas pedal and fuel line did not con­trib­ute to the prob­lem, draw­ing sharp crit­i­cism from law­mak­ers who said such a pos­si­bil­ity should not be ruled out and from a tear­ful woman who said she had been at the wheel of a ru­n­away Lexus.

“ Shame on you, Toy­ota,” Rhonda Smith of Se­vierville, Tenn., said at a con­gres­sional hear­ing. Then she added a sec­ond “shame on you” di­rected at fed­eral high­way safety reg­u­la­tors.

Lentz said Toy­ota has not com­pletely ruled out an elec­tron­ics mal­func­tion and is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing causes of the sud­den ac­cel­er­a­tions. Still, “we have not found a mal­func­tion” in the elec­tron­ics of any of the cars at is­sue, he said.

As to Smith’s har­row­ing story, “I’m em­bar­rassed for what hap- pened,” Lentz said. “I want her and her hus­band to feel safe about driv­ing our prod­ucts.”

Toy­ota has al­ready re­called some eight mil­lion ve­hi­cles — more than six mil­lion in the United States — to fix po­ten­tially sticky gas ped­als and floor mats that can trap ped­als. Lentz has said be­fore that he was con­fi­dent the fixes would cor­rect those prob­lems.

But when asked broadly by En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee chair­man Henry Wax­man (D-Calif.) whether the two re­calls Toy­ota put in place would “solve the prob­lem,” he replied: “Not to­tally.”

How­ever, he said chances were “ very, very slim” of un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tions once the re­call process was com­plete. Lentz also said Toy­ota is putting in new brakes that can over­ride the gas pedal on al­most all of its new ve­hi­cles and a ma­jor­ity of its ve­hi­cles al­ready on the road.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.