So which is it? Does Toyota really know what the fix is for the unintended acceleration problems or not? Apparently the U.S. House of Representatives wants a straight answer. It seems the House is a little upset with official statements made by the beleaguered Japanese automaker because they seem to contradict what Toyota told the House earlier. They're also disturbed by comments they heard from Toyota's U.S. President and COO Jim Lentz while on the Today Show with Matt Lauer.
The latest hearing notice came from the House Energy and Commerce committee, which was already scheduled to hold a hearing on February 25 to "examine the persistent consumer complaints of sudden unintended acceleration in vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor Corporation," according to committee chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif. They have given Toyota until Friday to answer a few questions about inconsistencies in some of Toyota's official statements.
The House says that Toyota gave assurances that they this issue under control, which don't match up with what Toyota had told them several days earlier. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Chairman Henry Waxman, and investigation subcommittee chair, Rep. Bart Stupak, want some proof from Toyota to back up those claims by Friday. You can read the rest of the details after the jump.
[Source: Detroit Free Press]
This push for answers comes on the heels of Toyota's announcement that they have found a fix for the 2.3 million cars and trucks with sticky accelerator pedals as well as the 5.4 million vehicles affected by the floor mat issue. The wording of the statements by Toyota officials claims that this will take care of all known issues related to unintended acceleration, but Stupak and Waxman say that Toyota officials just told House staffers last week that it was "very, very hard to identify" the causes of the problems.
"Toyota officials indicated that sticking accelerator pedals are unlikely to be responsible for the sensational stories of drivers losing control over acceleration as their cars race to 60 miles per hour or higher," according to the two lawmakers. There was even a suggestion that the vehicles' electrical system might be involved, which hadn't been addressed at all.The issue with Lentz is that he indicated to Matt Lauer that it wasn't until October of 2009 that Toyota knew of the unintended acceleration complaints, but Toyota had told House staffers that they knew about the problem as early as April or May of 2009 when similar complaints started coming in in Europe. To make matters worse, when they announced the recall, Toyota apparently said that the first complaints of sticky pedals had come in March 2007 in Tundra pickups.
As a refresher on the hearings, The House Energy and Commerce Committee had already scheduled a hearing for February 25th. Meanwhile, House Representative Ed Towns, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had scheduled a separate hearing on Toyota's current recall for defective accelerator pedal mechanisms for February 4th