Toyota

NASA report on ‘runaway Toyotas’ expected today

David Gura Feb 8, 2011
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Toyota

NASA report on ‘runaway Toyotas’ expected today

David Gura Feb 8, 2011
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TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: NASA scientists — that’s right, NASA scientists — are scheduled to publish their analysis of so-called “Runaway Toyotas.” Those runaway cars prompted the automaker to recall millions of Corollas, Camrys, and Priuses.

Marketplace’s David Gura reports on what today’s report will represent.

UPDATE: Read about the results of the report in our story: Toyota failures not caused by electronics.


DAVID GURA: Drivers blamed Toyota. And Toyota blamed drivers. There were reports cars would accelerate on their own up to a hundred miles per hour. The NASA report could be significant — especially in court, where Toyota faces a host of lawsuits. At the very least, it could provide insight into complaints car engines are too complex and too computerized. So that’s maybe why Congress asked a group of rocket scientists to sort this whole thing out.

REBECCA LINDLAND: They had the capabilities and the facilities to conduct some really significant testing.

Rebecca Lindland is a senior analyst with IHS Global Insight. She says engineers looked at software. At how the cars are wired. At their throttles. NASA reportedly exposed several cars to high levels of electromagnetic radiation. Lindland says Toyota got a lot of bad publicity.

LINDLAND: They are definitely still in recovery mode.

She says even though Toyota’s profits are down, it’s presenting an optimistic forecast to investors and consumers. Hoping sales will, — accelerate soon.

In Washington, I’m David Gura, for Marketplace.

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