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What Do Toyota and Big Tobacco Have in Common?

Posted on Mar 9, 2010
Flickr / It's Our City

Fed up with a certain automotive academic who has been challenging Toyota’s claims about its car troubles, the automaker demonstrated similar problems in its competitors’ vehicles and fielded a team of experts to argue counterpoint. One of those experts runs a consulting firm for hire that once found no link between secondhand smoke and cancer.

Toyota maintains that the problems with unwanted acceleration in its cars are mechanical in nature. Illinois professor David W. Gilbert (the troublesome academic) has caused acceleration electronically, and without triggering a key fail-safe that lets the brake override the accelerator.

Toyota says such results would never be possible outside a lab under normal conditions. And because there’s safety in numbers, the company re-created Gilbert’s results with cars made by Ford and Subaru.  —PZS

AP via Yahoo:

“There is no evidence that I’ve seen to indicate that this situation is happening at all in the real world,” Gerdes said. He added that the professor’s work “could result in misguided policy and unwarranted fear.”

To prove their point, Toyota officials revved the engines of cars made by competitors, including a Subaru Forester and a Ford Fusion, by connecting a circuit rigged up to the wiring of the gas pedals.

Toyota supports other research programs at Stanford’s engineering school and is an affiliate of the Center for Automotive Research, but Gerdes said he came to his conclusions “with complete independence.”

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By caravan insurance, November 10, 2011 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

This seems to be a conspiracy to undermine the brand of Toyota in America. Though such cases are not uncommon altogether, this is one of the most prolific cases. The supposed problem found in Toyota’s cars has caused the company money and consumer confidence. What they did was a good move to win back the confidence of its shareholders. For a company that big, they would definitely have insurance over a possible media fall out like this.

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By BMW Service Essex, May 31, 2011 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

The hypocrisy over this Toyota problem is ridiculous. Any American company would never have been dragged over the coals like this.

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By Sandra Aldersea, December 20, 2010 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

2nd hand smoke is a joke & truthdig should do some investigation of it’s own. This is big pharma making big bucks to sell their quit meds like gum & chantix. The govt. gets lots of tax money too. You really believe the govt. really cares about our health? NOT. OSHA has tested 2nd hand smoke and can barely find traces of some of the components in a small room with 60,000 cigarettes at one time. It’s all a farce and propaganda, which worked so well they are now using the same tactics on the overweight folks. Make them outcasts & demonize them, then get lots of fake research & study’s done and give it to the media. Check it out, the information is easy to find.

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By archebald23, June 14, 2010 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

yes, using other makes is a smart move, this just proves that the failures are indeed mechanical in nature and can happen to any car. This however just worstens toyota’s standing on the question “why does it happen to most toyota cars?”. is it on the parts used, or toyota just fails to see that signatured parts such as acm parts are far better that cost cutting parts.

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By Samson, March 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

Is Truthdig getting paid when they either blatantly promote a companies products (see the glowing articles about every new Apple release), or when they smear a company like in this case?

Near as I can tell, the only connection between Toyota and ‘big tobacco’ in this is that they both hired a panel of ‘experts’ to defend themselves and the same PR firm.  BFD.  The headline on this article is blatantly misleading.

What companies does Mr. Scheer own stock in?  Just trying to figure out why there seems to be a distinct tilt to the ‘business’ news on this site ... always positive to some companies, and always negative towards others.

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By EJH, March 9, 2010 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

The headline is, as usual at Truthdig, cute, but
really Toyota and “Big Tobacco” have virtually
nothing in common.  So they both hired the same
consulting firm.  I bet lots of other companies hired
them, too. 

Regardless of whether Nabisco’s boys advised them on
it or not, Toyota made a smart move testing a Ford. 
While Toyota undoubtedly sold some faulty cars and
they deserve to be criticized, it is difficult to
think that politics are not playing a role in the
out-sized reaction to this scandal. 

Some have suggested the US government is bashing
Toyota to punish the new Japanese government’s for
requesting that America remove a few of it’s soldiers
from Okinawa.  Of course, the American military bases
in Japan serve no purpose (other than America’s own
selfish ones) and every last soldier should leave

The greedy Americans think that they have special
rights and that their overseas bases are justified
somehow.  When Japanese military bases are
established in San Diego or Seattle, then maybe
Kadena, Yokota, Misawa, Sasebo, Atsugi, Yokosuka,
etc., could be considered reasonable.

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