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Toyota to face Congress again May 6

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Toyota to face Congress again May 6



WASHINGTON — Toyota executives have been asked to testify again to a U.S. House subcommittee on May 6, and lawmakers today asked for more information about Toyota's testing for causes of sudden acceleration and its work with California research firm Exponent.

U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, asked Toyota and Exponent for several documents, including copies of all contracts and correspondence between the two firms over Toyotas and sudden acceleration.

Toyota hired Exponent last month to help discredit claims by a Illinois professor that a simple electronic flaw could trigger the problem in Toyota models. In demonstrations webcast by Toyota, Exponent showed the technique used by Dan Gilbert could be applied to several models from other automakers. Toyota has said it gave Exponent an "unlimited budget" to research possible causes of sudden acceleration, but advocacy groups contend Exponent is often brought in by corporations to muddy scientific debates.

Toyota has until Monday to reply to a $16.4-million fine by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it delayed the recall of more than 2 million vehicles with sticky gas pedals that could trigger sudden acceleration. It has recalled a total of 5.4 million cars and trucks in the United States for pedals and floor mats linked to sudden acceleration, but steadfastly maintained that there were no flaws in its electronic systems which could trigger such a problem.

The automaker is currently testing its 2010 Lexus GX460 sport utility vehicle for a problem with skidding uncovered by Consumer Reports magazine, and has vowed to fix any problems found quickly.



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House chairman requests information from Toyota ahead of May hearing

04/16/2010, 6:03 PMBY DREW JOHNSON

Ahead of a May 6 Congressional hearing on Capitol Hill, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman has asked Toyota and its consultant partner Exponent to hand over any findings that could potentially link faulty electronics with the company’s unintended acceleration problems.

Waxman asked for “any documents, including reports, analyses or other communications, describing the results of Exponent’s work for Toyota related to unintended acceleration or electronic throttle-control systems.”

Toyota maintains that its vehicle electronics are not to blame for the company’s unintended acceleration woes. According to the Japanese automaker, Exponent’s preliminary findings support its stance.

To ensure all aspects of Toyota’s electronics are being closely scrutinized, Waxman’s letter also requested evidence of the scope of Exponent’s investigation. Toyota sales head Jim Lentz and Exponent CEO Paul Johnson have been asked to testify at the May hearing.



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