Toyota Acceleration Problem
The Toyota acceleration problem in the Prius line has long since passed, but the story behind it is still unknown to many people. Toyota’s previous knowledge of the problem did nothing to save the lives of 87 owners. In fact, the major auto manufacturer could have recalled the vehicles in time, but for some reason decided not to.
There have been concerns of a new Toyota acceleration problem, however, Toyota reassures its customers that they have done all that they can to protect them from new malfunctioning units. The initial fiasco with the Prius left the company with many more restrictions – not to mention a bad taste in customer’s mouths about the Toyota acceleration problem. In this economy auto makers have to stay responsible, because they cannot stand a massive recall that Toyota barely missed.
Many people thought that the computer controls were to blame for the Toyota acceleration problem. If the Toyota acceleration problem was from the onboard computer, it would have cost the company billions for a recall on that scale. More than 40 million cars and trucks manufactured by Toyota use the same ETC (electronic throttle control) systems – including the Prius.
Initially, the eighty-seven deaths were thought to be caused by the faulty ETC system. With so many vehicles on the road installed with the same system, Toyota took a risk by refusing to recall the part immediately. The company held its ground when faces with allegations of a faulty ETC system – especially since the equipment had been working flawlessly in vehicles for years without ever causing a Toyota acceleration problem.
The NHTSA and NASA cleared Toyota of any problems that may have been in the ETC system. Their findings reported that the Toyota acceleration problem was a design flaw in the gas pedal’s geometry. The geometry of the assembly was making the pedal stick causing the Prius to accelerate even after the foot was released from the pedal. All Prius models were recalled to have the geometry of the pedal changed with no expense to the owners.
In the end, Toyota was fined 33 million dollars – the greatest amount the law could fine – for neglecting to report the negative claims. In light of the Toyota acceleration problem, such a fine was considered by many people to be a slap on the wrist to such a huge cooperation like Toyota.