Toyota is going to be back in the spotlight, as the first of its unintended acceleration lawsuits is headed for trial. This case covers a Los Angeles sushi shop owner, Noriko Uno. According to the what the family told The Detroit News, Uno only put about 10,000 miles on her 2006 Toyota Camry in four years. Uno was apparently afraid of high speeds, avoiding the freeway and taking a route home along LA's surface streets to avoid them.
A total of 20 Ford customers are suing the automaker in a class-action lawsuit for selling vehicles "vulnerable to unintended acceleration." According to Reuters, the suit names 30 models built between 2002 and 2010 with electronic throttle control systems but without a brake override system. Those include the 2004-2012 F-Series pickups and the 2005-2009 Lincoln Town Car. Adam Levitt, a partner with the law firm of Grant & Eisenhofer says the plaintiffs in the case want "to be compensated fo
Can't say we didn't see this one coming... According to the Associated Press, seven insurance companies* are suing Toyota in California court for damages in excess of $230,000. We suspect that figure could rise, as it's derived from just 14 of the alleged 725 total accidents the insurers claim Toyota is at least partially at fault for.
With all the news reports about issues with unintended acceleration in Toyotas in recent months, it was only a matter of time before an aftermarket company stepped up with a purported solution. Santa Barbara-based Solutions Group Inc. is now marketing a device called the Decelerator, which they claim provides a brake override to prevent the car from taking off on the driver.
If there's a silver lining in the rash of unintended acceleration claims that have popped up against Toyota as of late, it's that manufacturers from around the world are beginning to think about incorporating brake override systems in their products. General Motors has just announced that all of its vehicles with automatic transmissions and electronic throttle control will boast an "enhanced smart pedal" by 2012.
While all Toyota and Lexus models are expected to be sold with brake override systems by the end of 2010, there are still plenty in customers' hands that don't have the feature. A brake override system will effectively cut engine power if it senses the brake and gas pedals are being pressed at the same time, a handy feature if you find your car suddenly accelerating.
From the "things that should probably already be there" file comes the announcement that Toyota will be installing brake override systems in response to recent incidents of runaway cars. Toyota North America president Yoshi Inaba told Automotive News that the system will force the engine into idle if it senses the driver is trying to apply the brakes unsuccessfully.