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TOYOTA RELEASES FINDINGS OF INDEPENDENT ENGINEERING STUDY
Toyota has released the findings of an independent study into unexplained vehicle acceleration following recent Congressional hearings in the United States.
The report from independent engineering consultancy Exponent found that experiments conducted by Dr David Gilbert, a US-based automotive tutor who testified at the hearings, could not be recreated under actual road conditions.
Among other things, Exponent found that Dr Gilbert had removed the insulation on wiring and touched wires together that would not normally come into contact. These findings were also supported by the Director for Stanford University's Centre for Automotive Excellence, Dr. Chris Gerdes.
Paul Carroll, general manager of after sales for Toyota New Zealand, is pleased Toyota has published the findings and says it's important that customers remain informed throughout the process.
"We've made the Exponent report available on the Toyota New Zealand website and it clearly shows that Dr Gilbert 'hot wired' the car to get his results.
"What's interesting is that when the Exponent researchers did the same thing to four other makes of vehicle they had the same result as Dr Gilbert did with the Toyota," says Carroll.
Mr Carroll confirmed that investigations into electronic throttle controls were progressing with the US National Highway Safety Authority and, in the meantime, he hoped the Exponent report would reassure customers that Dr Gilbert's experiments could not happen under actual driving conditions.
Toyota New Zealand has recalled 321 vehicles since the beginning of this year: 61 Avensis Wagons for a sticky accelerator and 260 Prius for a brake software upgrade.
"While these problems are minor compared with the recalls in the US we are still very aware of the inconvenience to our customers," says Carroll.
"The issues overseas affect New Zealand motorists too and we are being vigilant regarding any reports we receive from our customers."