What Do Toyota and Big Tobacco Have in Common?
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.”