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Toyota's Unintended Acceleration Woes Are Likely to Drag On
10/29/2013

Last week's unintended acceleration verdict stemmed from the case of a 76-year-old woman whose Toyota Camry sped out of control as she was exiting an Oklahoma highway.   (Source: Toyota)
Last week’s unintended acceleration verdict stemmed from the case of a 76-year-old woman whose Toyota Camry sped out of control as she was exiting an Oklahoma highway.
(Source: Toyota)

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Charles Murray
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Re: Number of claims
Charles Murray   11/7/2013 9:29:26 PM
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I honestly don't know if this could ultimately end up as an across-the-board problem, ttemple. On Monday, we'll tell you about some of the testimony in the most recent trial, and the software-related issues that were involved.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Bad news
Elizabeth M   11/7/2013 5:08:57 AM
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Yes, it's funny how people's perception affects brands and the success of them so much. You could have the best, most reliable product ever, but if people don't trust your brand, it doesn't matter. We must remember people--people with opinions and emotions--drive markets.

Charles Murray
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Re: Bad news
Charles Murray   11/6/2013 9:35:24 PM
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I think you've nailed it, Liz. It's a matter of comfort. Many Americans don't worry about whether a carmaker in based in the U.S. today. But back in the '80s, there was still some distrust of foreign cars, even with a brand of Audi's reputation. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Bad news
Elizabeth M   11/5/2013 5:28:43 AM
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That's interesting, Chuck. I wonder why it affected Audi and not Toyota. Maybe because the perception of the Toyota brand in the U.S. is more stable, and the cars generally are more affordable. Audi is better known (even if it's not an entirely fair perception) as a luxury or "foreign" brand, I think. Yes, Toyota is foreign as well, but people seem to be more comfortable with the brand. I guess time will tell if Toyota will be affected in the future.

ttemple
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Re: Number of claims
ttemple   11/4/2013 7:51:02 PM
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http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2010/03/02/business/global/02toyotaGraphic.html?ref=business

This was the most interesting thing I could find when I searched online for statistical information on unintended acceleration.

This sort of answers my initial question.

There is also a good article on wikipedia that details some of the biggies, including Audi and Toyota, along with some others I don't remember hearing about.

It appears to me that while there is some inherent risk of unintended acceleration across the board, there are distinct spikes in the data that would be hard to explain away.

Charles Murray
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Re: Bad news
Charles Murray   11/4/2013 6:57:36 PM
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You're right, Liz. The attention hasn't hurt Toyota in a significant way yet. In fact, Toyota has kept doing quite well in Consumer Reports' annual reliability studies. For Audi, however, it was different. U.S. sales of Audis dropped from 75,000 annually to 10,000 annually in the late '80s. The brand name was badly damaged.

Charles Murray
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Re: Number of claims
Charles Murray   11/4/2013 6:52:56 PM
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I don't know the statistics for the industry in general, ttemple, but in Audi's case I know there were more than 700 claims.

tekochip
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Re: legal and human issue.. not likely a technology issue
tekochip   11/4/2013 1:59:11 PM
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Feet can be an issue.

 

In 1979 I bought a Ford Fiesta.  The car was so small (how small was it) that I had to take my shoes off to drive it because my left shoe covered the brake and clutch.  Also true, once I left a gas station and couldn't remember if I had put the gas cap back on.  I rolled down the window and reached around to the back of the car with my left hand, openen up the filler door and verified that the cap was on.

Tool_maker
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Re: legal and human issue.. not likely a technology issue
Tool_maker   10/31/2013 1:03:47 PM
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@Thinking_J: In some cars it is possible to hit both pedals at once. I know as I have two Ford products in which I can and have accidently pushed the accelerator down when I was braking. My first instinct is to push harder on the brake which in turn further depresses the gas pedal. The first time it happened I was at a loss for what was going on, but when I realized I just slid my foot over and the problem was gone. This has occured in both my Ranger and Expedition and now that i know this I am extra careful. Seriously, I have big feet and quite often wear boots. My wife has never had this happen to her, but she has little feet. Is it operator error? Of course and I have to watch what I am doing, but it is possible to hit them both at once.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Bad news
Elizabeth M   10/31/2013 4:47:20 AM
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You're right, Pubudu, about how this sort of thing affects a brand. But Toyota's brand is so strong I'm unsure if this would have a major effect, unless the problem really drags on. And I am not sure how many people except perhaps Toyota owners would know about it. I personally wouldn't know about this issue if I wasn't a reader of and writer for Design News. While I'm sure there is a fair bit of public attention about it, many people may not be aware of it. But you're right, prolonged negative attention and impact like this can sink even a strong brand.

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