TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said on Friday a CNN report linking an internal engineering memo to potential glitches that could cause sudden unintended acceleration in its cars was “grossly inaccurate”.
CNN said on its website Toyota engineers had found an electronic software problem that caused sudden unintended acceleration in a test vehicle during pre-production trials, citing an internal engineering report, in Japanese, that it had obtained and translated.
A Toyota spokesman in Tokyo repeated the company’s explanation on CNN that the broadcaster’s translations were wrong, noting the term “unintended sudden acceleration” appeared nowhere in the Japanese document. He added that the document concerned a fail-safing test for adaptive cruise control on a prototype vehicle that had nothing to do with sudden acceleration.
The U.S. government in early 2011 cleared Toyota’s electronics of causing unintended acceleration, ending an extensive probe conducted by engineers both at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and NASA.
“In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, CNN has irresponsibly aired a grossly inaccurate segment on Anderson Cooper 360 that attempts to resurrect the discredited, scientifically unproven allegation that there is a hidden defect in Toyota’s electronic throttle control system that can cause unintended acceleration,” Toyota said in a statement.
CNN interviewed one independent safety expert and a mechanical engineer in the Anderson Cooper news show, both of whose interpretations were based on CNN’s translations.
Toyota recalled millions of vehicles in the United States to fix potential problems of unintended acceleration, focusing on mechanical issues with “sticky” accelerator pedals and the risk that floormats could trap the pedal in the open position. U.S. investigators concluded that most reports of runaway acceleration could be explained by driver error.
Links of letters sent to Turner Broadcasting System from Toyota, as well as the original document and translations provided by CNN, can be seen on its website.
Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim