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Toyota Statement on Rebuttal of Professor Gilbert's 'Unintended Acceleration' Demonstration

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Last week we watched the Congressional witch hunt interrogation of Jim Lentz, head of Toyota's American operations. The subject of Professor Gilbert's experiment came up and Jim Lentz admitted that Toyota had just conducted the same test that Gilbert performed. The interrogating Congresswoman zeroed in for the kill as she asked what the results were. Lentz said it was the same (the Toyota accelerated without driver input). Aha, the Congresswomen smelled blood and she was ready to tear his head off. She smirked, "So are you willing to change your testimony?"

"No," said the car executive, and he then explained that the circumstances of the test was one that could not happen in a real world situation. He also said that the Toyota engineers conducted the same test on a competitor's vehicle (one not charged with having supernatural abilities to accelerate on its own) and that that test produced the same unintended acceleration results. The Congresswoman dropped this line of questioning and the hearing was adjourned a short while later.

Unfortunately. Mr. Lentz' appearance was rather sheepish, not at all like the Oliver North testimony of two-plus decades ago when he ripped his inquisitioners a "new one." Consequently, the significance of what Jim Lentz had said about the test was buried until these two new statements (see below) from Toyota.

Meanwhile, we still have not read or heard of one report from a legitimate automotive journalist that has experienced sudden unintended acceleration.

TORRANCE, CA - March 5, 2010: Toyota and Exponent (testing company) have provided Professor David Gilbert of Southern Illinois University with the results of their thorough evaluations of his demonstration of apparent “unintended acceleration” in Toyota and Lexus vehicles as described in his Preliminary Report and in his testimony at recent Congressional hearings. In evaluating Professor Gilbert’s claims, Exponent also analyzed the footage of Professor Gilbert’s appearance on ABC News on February 22, 2010.

Toyota has also supplied the results of these evaluations to the appropriate Congressional Committees. The analysis of Professor’s Gilbert’s demonstration establishes that he has reengineered and rewired the signals from the accelerator pedal. This rewired circuit is highly unlikely to occur naturally and can only be contrived in a laboratory. There is no evidence to suggest that this highly unlikely scenario has ever occurred in the real world. As shown in the Exponent and Toyota evaluations, with such artificial modifications, similar results can be obtained in other vehicles.

Toyota Responds to Waxman Committee Request

TORRANCE, CA - March 5, 2010: We have received the letter and will, of course, cooperate. Toyota has already agreed to keep the Committee informed on a regular basis. We are providing them with the Exponent report and results of additional testing by Toyota regarding erroneous allegations by Mr. Gilbert that sudden unwanted acceleration can easily be induced in real world conditions. Toyota has offered to demonstrate the results of our further research and would welcome committee representatives to observe those demonstrations.

Toyota is quickly investigating verifiable complaints of unintended acceleration and we are doing everything we can to ensure that our customers are confident in their vehicles and the remedies.

Click PLAY to watch Toyota testing video