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U.S. Clears Toyota Camry, Camry Solara and Lexus ES300 of Acceleration Problems

DETROIT July 27, 2004; The AP reported that the federal government said Tuesday it was closing a safety investigation into the Toyota Camry, Camry Solara and Lexus ES300 but would continue to monitor the vehicles because of allegations they can surge ahead without warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating in March after receiving reports of 30 crashes due to a possible defect. At least one pedestrian was injured in one of the crashes. The investigation looked at vehicles from the 2002 and 2003 model years.

NHTSA said its investigation focused on whether electronic throttle control was causing the alleged surges. Vehicles with electronic throttle control send signals from the accelerator pedal to the engine electronically instead of mechanically.

NHTSA had many of the complainants' vehicles analyzed and found nothing abnormal with the electronic throttle control or the control pedals. Sometimes, sudden acceleration happens when drivers are unfamiliar with new vehicles.

NHTSA said it was closing its investigation for now but would be monitoring the vehicles. NHTSA investigations can lead to vehicle recalls.