Second-gen Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery
The unintended acceleration case of the second-generation Prius belonging to James Sikes now officially has an interesting backstory. Apparently, according to USAToday, Sikes' "case against Toyota is starting to look shaky." Why? Two reasons. First, and most important, is the technical argument. Toyota is saying that Sikes' Prius has a brake override system that should have slowed the car down in the situation Sikes has described to the media and to investigators. Also, looking at Audi's history with a similar problem back in the 1980s, it's often driver error that led to the acceleration, not a problem with the vehicles themselves.
Second, and only to consider possible motives for pretending something was wrong when there really wasn't, Sikes is apparently deep in debt according to financial records uncovered by Jalopnik. He has said repeatedly that he doesn't plan on suing Toyota, but he has retained a law firm.
As we said yesterday, there is no obvious explanation for why Sikes' Prius (and a similar model in New York a few days later) sped up and there's a case to be made that the hype is getting out of hand. Still, something happened, and the sooner we get the facts here, the better off we'll be. For now, we'll just have to file this under "Ongoing."