In an impassioned speech before attendees at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars, a Toyota Motor Corp. executive says he is completely confident there are no defects in the auto maker's electronic throttle-control system.
“Today as I sit in front of you, and as Toyota North America's chief quality officer, I want to tell you I am 100% confident there is nothing wrong with our electronic-control system,” says Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Mfg. North America Inc. and head of the auto maker's North American Quality Task Force.
St. Angelo came to his conclusions after traveling to Japan almost every other week since March to study Toyota's quality systems and testing operations as part of an investigation into unintended sudden acceleration, following a California accident a year ago that claimed four lives.
“I went to the proving grounds where they test for electromagnetic interference and drove cars. I've talked to technicians. I talked to engineers. I saw so much data, it is coming out of my ears,” he says.
St. Angelo also visited dealerships and spoke with technicians one-on-one.
He finally was convinced after spending a long day at Exponent Inc., an independent electronics-testing company Toyota has hired to investigate possible problems with its vehicle electronics and throttle controls.
“I got there early in the morning and left there at 10:30 at night,” St. Angelo tells the audience. “It was unbelievable. I saw almost every electronic throttle-control system in the world. Yes, many of your cars, maybe all of your car systems, were there when they did their evaluation.
“They had electronic throttle-control systems from the mid-1990s. They went through their analysis so carefully. And they can't find anything.”
The U.S. Dept. of Transportation recently reported to Congress that a review of 58 data recorders removed from Toyota vehicles linked to sudden unintended acceleration yielded no new cause beyond sticking gas pedals and floor mats that jam the accelerator.