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Exec: Toyota isn't covering up floor mat issue

Automotive News reports on Toyota's rebuttal to critics of sudden acceleration issues in Toyota cars.

Automotive News

TOKYO--A senior Toyota executive last week denied statements by U.S. safety authorities that the company issued "inaccurate and misleading information" about a safety recall.

Toyota's recall of 3.8 million vehicles in the United States advised drivers to remove floor mats that may jam the gas pedal and cause unintended acceleration.

In a statement last week, Toyota said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found "no defect exists in vehicles with properly installed floor mats." In fact, NHTSA said, Toyota vehicles have a "very serious defect."

Toyota Executive Vice President Yukitoshi Funo denied that the automaker tried to sidestep engineering or design defects. He said the company is working closely with NHTSA to pinpoint the cause of the problem.

"It is not a part of Toyota's culture and the Toyota Way to cover up anything, and we are proceeding with open and frank discussions with NHTSA," Funo said.

According to a NHTSA statement, the accelerator and floor design of the vehicles create "the potential for entrapment of the accelerator by floor mats." The statement said removing the floor mats is only an interim solution that does not correct the underlying defect.

Funo said Toyota had "no disagreement on this issue."

The floor mat recall was prompted by an August 28 accident involving a runaway Lexus ES 350 in San Diego that killed four people.

The company has said it would begin sending letters to owners urging them to remove the floor mats from their cars while the company considers what to do about the problem.

(Source: Automotive News)