Product Liability

Toyota pedal manufacturer says its products not to blame

Toyota has found itself in a rather sticky situation. With more than eight million cars and trucks worldwide falling under a massive recall due to sudden unintended acceleration, the Japanese carmaker is looking for some sort of solution to pacify a growing anxious consumer base. Last fall, it blamed floor mats for the problem. Last month, Toyota announced the problem also fell on the vehicles’ gas pedals.

“Toyota’s engineers have developed and rigorously tested a solution that involves reinforcing the pedal assembly in a manner that eliminates the excess friction that has caused the pedals to stick in rare instances,” the company said in a statement released Monday.

Last week, one of the company’s acceleration pedal manufacturers, CTS Corporation, chimed in, in an effort to clear its name among what it calls “widespread confusion and incorrect information” about the company’s role in the gas pedal recall. In a statement, CTS points out that reports of unintended acceleration have been reported in some Lexus and Toyota vehicles dating back to 1999. CTS clarifies that it “does not and has never made any accelerator pedals for Lexus vehicles and that CTS also has no accelerator pedals in Toyota vehicles prior to model year 2005.”

“We are disappointed that, despite these facts, CTS accelerator pedals have been frequently associated with the sudden unintended acceleration problems and incidents in various media reports,” says Dennis Thornton, CTS Vice President and General Manager of Automotive Products
Group. Toyota offered no response to the CTS announcement.

Meanwhile, a wide group of national automotive experts contend there is strong evidence that at least some of the unintended acceleration problems may be due to a hidden electronic problem. According to the New York Times, complaints of unintended acceleration increased substantially in the years after Toyota introduced electronic throttles.