• Feb 3, 2010
Matt Lauer interviews Toyota President and COO Jim Lentz on the Today Show

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


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wally, why are you grinning? American's build those Toyota's. Do you get off on American's loosing jobs?
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is not about losing jobs. It is about losing lives.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can help but grin ear to ear at the smoldering pile of sticks that was once Toyota's reputation. ;-)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually Sean, you're over thinking this. I don't like Toyota and I'm glad to see them in hot water. It is too bad that people had to die and for those people I am very sad. On the other hand, nobody forced them to purchase Toyota junk that I'm positive they bought because of perceived quality. I think I'm enjoying this at just the right level.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "can't" actually...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Unfortunately that smoldering pile of sticks used to be a car, and the sticks are the bones of the people that died.

        I'm glad that people are finally opening their eyes to what Toyota of today is, but I'm not relishing in it and I wish it hadn't cost people their lives.

        You're enjoying this far too much.
      • 4 Years Ago
      how deep does the rabbit who really go?
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's not just throttles.

        Toyota engines sludge.

        Prius brakes don't work.

        Tundra frames rust (and are understrength, to boot).

        If it were just throttles, we'd be done by now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        To the earth's very core.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I said it before and I'll say it again: Throttlegate

        ...but I am getting a little tired of all of this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Boy this is getting ugly.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is waaaay past ugly!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota got caught so off guard by the questions and how they answered...Internally they prob didn't know what the hell was going on in the media & the public eyes.....These problems would have been fixed and resolved with no issues and would have never gotten out of proportions to how the situation is now, but since the people at Toyota are full of themselves they never thought something would ever be wrong with their cars...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now I'm even starting to feel sorry for Toyota and they currently don't even sell any cars I like.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Barack Obama, in his state of the union address: "I call on Congress to work hard on [X, Y, Z]"

      Congress, days later: "Oooh, a shiny thing!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm still waiting to see a single example of this malfunction.
      • 4 Years Ago
      aaahhhhmen
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, but this is a stupid request. How can Toyota anticipate future failures they may not be aware of yet? These two recalls *might* fix the existing acceleration problems but no lawyer worth a damn would allow them to say they'll fix all future acceleration problems.

      I hate Congressional grandstanding.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Soon.. we will definitely get a huge 'Warning Level' that reads 'Driving can be a dangerous, life threatening activity' on the windshield of all the cars!

        Once again, politics at best.

        Then.. as citizens, we demand the PROOF from the TSA & government that putting the body scanner at the airport will definitely prevent any future terrorism that occurs in the air travel.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I'm sorry, but this is a stupid request. How can Toyota anticipate future failures they may not be aware of yet?"

        Um. brake overrides throttle. Done. If the germans figured that one out a decade ago I'm not entirely sure why the most prestigious producers of grocery getters can't figure that one out today.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @zamafir... my point exactly. But that's not what Congress is asking. They want to be assured that the *current two* recalls will fix all future acceleration problems and it's clear that those recalls can't do it. Instead we have various Congresspeople angling for a sound bite on the evening news instead of requiring something that will actually be effective. In short, grandstanding.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's politics, what do you expect? Nonetheless, if this is what it takes to get the real answer to the story, then so be it. The fact is that Toyota has repeatedly covered up the real issue is the main concern here. The safety concern is real, not something to be swept under a rug with out-of-court settlements.

        It's no different from "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" and only then under further investigation that the real truth came out.

        Many of us aren't bitter about the recalls. We're bitter about the cover-ups over the years in their attempts to mitigate the issues instead of properly addressing them and providing the fix before things truly got "out of hand".
        • 4 Years Ago
        news flash...Yes they can...The defective devices in question are not a unique technology where it's in the early stages of testing...Its a device that many other automakers use...It's only Toyota that have under engineered the device presumably to cut corners and gain more profits.....So if Ford, GM, Audi, Benz, BMW, Honda, etc etc can sell cars with the same technology why can't Toyota be at par with the rest?

        The problem is at the core where it's and engineering problem for Toyota not a lazy worker making a bad batch of pedals....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Jim Lentz should find other job.
      Japanese will not protect you, Japanese make you the scapegoat for faulty problem.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is this when we get the pitchforks and torches? Is it time yet??
        • 4 Years Ago
        *sharpens pointy stick* *strikes match for torches*

        Why wait? No time like the present.
    • Load More Comments