Toyota denies CNN report of ’06 memo on sudden acceleration worries

Bloomberg

Toyota Motor Corp. denied a CNN report that engineers told the carmaker in 2006 they found faulty software that led to sudden unintended acceleration in tests.

CNN, citing an internal memo, reported tests of a preproduction model showed the fail-safes for the electronics that governed the vehicle’s cruise control needed to be improved. Toyota said it deliberately introduced the error to test its systems and CNN had mistranslated the document.

“The report makes it sound as though we were not reviewing and improving our cars before they went on sale, and that is not true,” Executive Vice President Shinichi Sasaki said in Yokohama.

The automaker reviews the results of “fail-safe stress tests” to make improvements during the development of a car, he said.

The report “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. Sudden unintended acceleration didn’t occur nor was it referenced in the original Japanese document, Toyota said.

The memo used by CNN describes internal tests of the adaptive cruise-control system to see how it would respond in the event of a fault at the pedal sensor, said John Hanson, a spokesman for Toyota’s U.S. unit. CNN didn’t say how it obtained the memo.