We're guessing you've heard about Toyota's massive 3.8 million vehicle recall for unintended acceleration. It appears to be an issue that could have potentially resulted in several deaths and reports of hundreds of accidents. Consumer Reports wanted to dig deeper on the matter, studying National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data for the 2008 model year. CR chose 2008 because the claims occurred prior to the widespread media coverage that has resulted in a flood of new complaints.
In studying NHTSA's accumulated 5,916 reports CR found that 166 involved unintended acceleration complaints. Of those, 128 were reported prior to August 28, 2009, when a California family was killed in a Lexus sedan experiencing uncontrollable acceleration. Of those 128 complaints, 47 came from Toyota and five from Lexus, representing 41 percent of overall unintended acceleration complaints. That's obviously a disproportionate amount of reports for an automaker with 16 percent of the US market's overall share. Here's one complaint logged by NHTSA.
While Toyota had a disproportionate amount of unintended acceleration claims, the Japanese automaker wasn't alone. Ford received an also high 36 overall complaints, or 28 percent of all U.S. models. The F-150 appears to have been one of the Blue Oval's main culprits, and complaints ranged from a gas pedal that was too wide to an engine that decided to go buck wild."I felt the vehicle [2008 Lexus ES 350] increasing in speed to about 90 mph, without depressing the accelerator. I had been on cruise control at about 73 mph... [A] passenger screamed at me to slow down. I was unable to do so, even after stepping forcefully on the brakes."
While Toyota and Ford have the lion's share of unintended acceleration claims, other automakers have a disproportionately low amount of complaints. Chrysler came in with 11 complaints, GM had seven, Honda had five and Nissan had three. Head over to Consumer Reports for its full report and more information on unintended acceleration."The engine immediately increased in rpm to the point where the rear tires began spinning on the gravel. I put the transmission in Neutral and the engine rpm increased. I removed my foot from the brake and the engine continued at a very high rpm. I then depressed and released the accelerator and the engine returned to a normal idle."
UPDATE: Numbers and percentages mentioned in second paragraph further clarified.
[Source: Consumer Reports]