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Documents that were submitted by Toyota to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in March and obtained by Automotive News reportedly show that Toyota knew of dangerous safety defects on its vehicles as early as February, 2006. The first documented issue was of a 2005 Toyota Prius that experienced floor mat interference with the accelerator. The company-supplied timeline reportedly shows that it received its first evidence of sticky gas pedals five months later, but Toyota claims that the defect was unrepeatable and couldn't be duplicated, and the automaker reportedly opted to "monitor the situation in the field."

Since automakers are required to issue recalls within five days of finding a safety defect, the timeline documentation seems to validate NHTSA's recent $16.4 million fine levied against the Japanese automaker. Other documentation obtained by NHTSA and published in the Detroit Free Press includes an email from former Toyota executive Irv Miller to his superiors that shows that Toyota may have known about recall issues far earlier than the recalls were ordered. Toyota has two weeks to decide whether to fight the fine or pay up. NHTSA has been investigating the timeliness with which Toyota recalled the 8 million vehicles for floor mat and pedal sticking issues for several months.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      So many twists and turns in this saga.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How many times will it take for the most stubborn of the Toyotapologists to acknowledge that their patron saint is a criminal organization? You guys are either compensated very well, or you are completely stuck on stupid. Since you are largely an uncreative lot, I'd hazard a guess that you are the latter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Come on Autoblog! Day after day it seems that your site is moving from a community of unique perspectives on the auto industry to a straight aggregator of automotive news stories. This Toyota story like the previous CNN story you posted are straight sensationalist dribble. From sentence to sentence this story goes from sticking floormats to sticking pedals, as if they were one of the same. This is patently wrong; Toyota has two separate issues not one. Additionally at what point does an issue become a problem. If you have 1 case of floor mat entrapment by someone who didn’t install their floor mat correctly, should this warrant a recall? How about 10 cases of customers not installing their floor mat correctly? How about 100 cases? Remember this is a user error. How about when someone dies from floor mat entrapment from not installing their floor mat correctly, issue a recall? Meanwhile you have a steady stream of customers who are misapplying their pedals causing unintended acceleration (all manufactures without brake over-ride systems deal with this issue regularly). How much trust can you put on a customer who truly believes they were hitting the brake when they were hitting the gas? From an engineering and statistical perspective when does an issue become a problem?

      Autoblog, I expect that you read through the stories you post and provide your slant. You don’t need to reach the same conclusions that I have, but at least provide a healthy does of skepticism from the perspective and insight of not only an automotive lover, but someone with both industry and engineering expertise. If you can’t do this then I might as well stick to my RSS aggregator.
        • 5 Years Ago
        by unique perspectives do you mean trolls and ghost posters? cause there are plenty of those on here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @autoblog editors **********************************

        Thank you! Yes I will admit I like Toyota as a company, but come on! They knew about a few of the cases, how does that say anything?

        Does anyone here realize from a quality/industrial engineering perspective what 10 in 5million means? Or even 1 in 10,000?

        How can you recall on a problem you dont understand and can't replicate?

        If they completely understood the problem, shame on them!

        But really, I doubt they fully understood it and couldn't offer a fix. Only once it came to the public's attention, and more cases/examples cropped up they tried to offer a fix.

        Noone can say for sure if they knew this fix was bogus, but honestly who are YOU to say they knew it wouldn't work?

        If you think like an engineer working on this case, you would see what kind of nightmare this would be.

        Autoblog, your article says it in such a matter of fact way. Give the automaker some credit!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Having an accelerator pedal design that makes floor mat installation an issue is just piss poor design. And Yota defenders that want to put the blame on users are just pathetic.
        Yota screwed up on this one and that is the simple fact, had it been GM, guys like yourself would be all over them like a starving pit bull on a steak.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "How about when someone dies from floor mat entrapment from not installing their floor mat correctly"

        Firstly how do you install a floor mat incorrectly. It's a mat that you lay on the floor and if you lay the mat on the floor is should be install correctly...lol. On my F150 Ford knew not to put the bottom of the gas petal too close to the floor because if the mat slides up it can push the petal. Not rocket science.

        How about Toyota not design the petal so the floor mat can get stuck. Why are none of the other millions cars having this problem. Its exactly like Toyota has been saying they grew too quickly. Of the thousands of parts they design a redesigning of the gas petal was the last item on Toyota's list of todo's.

        Admit they F'ed up and move on, this country has a 20 second attention span an will forget quickly.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So basically, this shows Toyota's president, Jim Lentz, to be a liar, as he indicated on national television that Toyota's knowledge of this problem only went back to the fall of 2009.
      • 5 Years Ago
      just pay the damn fine, what's 16 million worth to a multi-billion dollar company?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The $16M fine is peanuts to Toyota, but the concern to Toyota is what impact paying this fine might have on the upcoming lawsuits.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How are the toyota fanboys gonna defend this one? bring up the prius driver in debt again?
      pathetic fanboys
        • 5 Years Ago
        Instigators like you are worse than fanboys.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Sounds like youre the fan boi.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is just tiring...seriously...pay the fine...get it over with...and MOVE FORWARD
      • 5 Years Ago
      If Toyota is smart they'll pay the fine and move on. But it is possible they will fight the fine, get it lowered substantially, then use the reduction is some moronic PR stung
        • 5 Years Ago
        They shouldn't pay the fine because it'll expose them to lawsuit after lawsuit from 85 year old grandmas and grandpas who mowed down some random kid.
        But they might not be guilty anyway-the rule is only that they have 5 days from discovering a defect. Being told that there was a case of unintended acceleration isn't the same as discovering a defect, since plenty of cases are just plain nonsensical. So unless you can prove that Toyota knew for certain that it was the design that was at fault then you can't start the 5 day timer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        meant 'stunt'. Durn fat fingers!
      • 5 Years Ago
      when it rains it pours
      • 5 Years Ago
      What amazes me about this whole thing is how the American public is just SO DANG passive about it. When the Pinto fuel tank thing happened people hammered Ford for years. Ford didn't even KNOW about the fuel tank thing. Time after time we are seeing that Toyota knew full well that this was happening and did nothing to correct it or even look for a solution for the safety of their patrons.

      This all stems from America's disgusting loyalty of foreign cars at any cost. Hey fan boys, what's the defense now, huh? "Toyota is correcting the problem" my a**
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