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Toyota executives told Congress in sworn testimony that it gave a consulting company called Exponent an unlimited budget to research electromagnetic sources of Toyota’s sudden acceleration problems. However, after an automotive professor, David Gilbert, successfully demonstrated that Toyota’s "failsafe" electronics claims were false, Toyota has taken off the gloves and spent the last several days attacking Professor Gilbert and his findings.

Today, Toyota’s paid consultants held an internet press event to attack Professor Gilbert’s findings about Toyota’s unintended acceleration problem. I have a couple questions about Toyota’s hired guns:

(1) Who paid for Exponent’s work trying to debunk Professor Gilbert’s findings; and

(2) Is Toyota focused on finding and fixing the problem or is Toyota focused on attacking this automotive professor?

Can you guess the answers?

I find the very first page of Exponent’s report more telling than any other. Take a look for yourself. Do you see what I see?

Exponent's Testing Prepared By Toyota's Lawyers For Litigation, Not Safety

For whom did Exponent prepare this report? Was it done for Toyota’s engineers? For Toyota’s safety department? For Toyota’s corporate executives? Nope. Exponent’s testing was prepared for and at the direction of Toyota’s litigation counsel, Bowman & Brooke, LLP.

Toyota’s engineering department did not order these tests.

Toyota’s design department did not order these tests.

Toyota’s electrical engineers did not order these tests.

Toyota’s safety department did not order these tests.

Toyota’s executive officers did not order these tests.

It was Toyota’s litigation attorneys that ordered these tests.

If it wasn’t Toyota’s engineers that asked for this test as a safety evaluation, why did Toyota call in these hired guns? What is this test out to prove? Well, let’s see what Exponent’s report says:

Exponent's testing attacked Professor Gilbert; but did not focus on safety

Toyota’s lawyers hired Exponent to attack Professor Gilbert’s findings, not to figure what is really causing Toyota’s sudden acceleration problem. At Toyota, it looks like safety loses again.

Toyota’s report from Exponent shows nothing more than a giant company spending an unlimited amount of money to attack an automotive professor that had the gall to challenge Toyota’s lies. Toyota appears to be more worried about covering its tail than actually fixing the problem that causes these vehicles to run out of control.

Why is Toyota more focused on refuting Professor Gilbert’s testing than figuring out what is actually causing the Toyota sudden acceleration problem?

This is just one more example of Toyota’s well-documented history of attempted cover-ups of safety problems. Throughout the sudden acceleration time line, one thing has been consistent: Toyota has consistently misled the public about the nature and severity of the Toyota sudden acceleration problem. When given the opportunity to come forward with information, Toyota has chosen lie after lie after lie.

The Detroit Free Press has documented how Toyota has stonewalled the investigation of these problems since at least 2003. Now, Toyota has said its own data recorders are not reliable. What are these black boxes saying that has Toyota withholding this evidence?

After dragging its feet and being called "safety deaf" on the sudden acceleration recall, Toyota did it again when Toyota knew of the problems with its Prius brakes long before warning its drivers, customers and innocent motorists.

It is time that Toyota is finally held accountable for putting profits over safety and for putting money ahead of human life.

You can learn more at our safety blog and become a fan of Langdon & Emison on Facebook.

42 Comments

  1. Gravatar for tedi

    This is the last time I comment on your site.

    I don't think you are winning over here.

    This is the engineering report. So fact stands.

    That's it. Doesn't matter who is working for who

    or who got paid. FACT!!!!!!

    My son was an engineering major at Undergrad and

    Law at Boalt. so I think he understtands a little bit better.

    Good luck.

  2. Gravatar for Brett Emison

    Tedi,

    Thanks again for reading and for your comments. I have enjoyed our debate. It again looks like we have difference of perspective.

    You see an engineering test and demonstration of principles by Professor Gilbert and you are suspicious and distrusting. You believe in Toyota.

    I see an engineering test by Exponent (who has been paid millions by Toyota) designed not for safety or to actually determine what causes the sudden acceleration problem, but designed by lawyers solely to refute the demonstration of principles done by Professor Gilbert and I am suspicious and distrusting. I have read and learned too much to believe in Toyota.

    The great thing about our country -- and even this forum -- is that those of us who disagree are free to express our opinions. I encourage you to keep reading and offering constructive debate.

    Thanks again for reading. I have enjoyed our debate.

  3. Gravatar for Milt

    Exponent provides the best science that money can buy. They are at it again with their bogus study of EMF interference with Toyota car accelerators. an “For some history on Exponent, the book “Doubt is Their Product” by David Michaels is very telling. Michaels learned a few things about this organization as the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety and Health under the Clinton Administration, and put these facts into his book. More information is at http://defendingscience.org/.”

    Michaels was also awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award in 2006.

  4. Gravatar for tom wittmann

    FRIENDS OF THE INJURY BOARD

    Hopefully you read this:

    The discussion between EXPONENT and Dr. GILBERT is about a secondary issue and it is IRRELEVANT who is right

    The secondary issue is if the Computer will detect any false command to the throttle or not. GILBERT says that under certain possible circumstances thisis not guaranteed, TOYOTA says it is!!

    But assuming TOYOTA is right, this means that the computer will act correctly ONLY IF ITSELF WORK CORRECTLY. But if anything as magnetic field or whatever induces the computer to create wrong signals, probably this will CAUSE THE SAFEGUARDS TO FAIL TOO.. SO NOTHING WILL BE PROVED OR DISPROVED

    OK ?? TOYOTA ONLY ATTACK GILBERT AS A DIVERSION!!!

    The main issue is that the SHIM fix is a fraud.

    Supposedly the SHIM solve the problem supplying the PEDAL SPRING with more force to compensate the effects of the wear, and the are 8 seizes of SHIM depending of SUCH WEAR. But 2009 and 2010 models have the acceleration problem too, and who will believe that they have suffered any meaningful wear??. SO WHAT THE DEALERS ARE DOING WITH THE CARS???

    The truth is that both the floormat and SHIM are again (cheap)diversions and this is the best proof that something is wrong with the electronic, detectors, software and/or computer, AND TOYOTA KNOWS THIS FACT FOR TWO YEARS NOW. IF THE DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS OR SIMPLY ARE NOT WILLING TO BEAR THE COST TO REPAIR IT, I DO NOT KNOW!!

    E-MAIL ME IF YOU WANT MORE INSIGHT

  5. Gravatar for Tedi

    We will see who is right.

    Chris Gerdes, the head of Stanford University’s Center for Automotive Research.

    Gerdes told the press he could not reproduce the findings of David Gilbert, professor at Southern Illinois University, who last month purported to show Congress how signals from the accelerator pedal in Toyota vehicles failed to be properly communicated. Gerdes told the audience today he “could not replicate a circuit malfunction under actual driving conditions” and called Guilbert’s study misleading.

  6. Gravatar for Brett Emison

    Tedi,

    Thanks for you comment. I have no doubt that Toyota's paid consultants said Professor Gilbert's research and testing was wrong. I would been astonished if Toyota's people had said anything different. However, that Toyota said it, doesn't make it accurate.

    Toyota has been attacking Professor Gilbert since the day after the congressional hearings on sudden acceleration (however, on the day of the hearing, Toyota admitted it had replicated Professor Gilbert's results and even offered to work with Gilbert in solving the sudden acceleration problem).

    The important difference between Gilbert and Exponent is the question asked in their respective testing. One cannot judge an answer without understanding the question. It is clear that Professor Gilbert and Exponent asked different questions in their testing.

    Gilbert's testing asked: is it possible for an electrical short to induce sudden unintended acceleration without triggering a system fault in the vehicle computer. The answer was yes. An answer Toyota replicated and admitted was accurate in sworn testimony before a congressional committee.

    Toyota's defense counsel did not like that answer, so they ordered additional "testing". This is why the "prepared for" entity was Toyota's litigation defense counsel and not Toyota's engineering department. Toyota was not interest in safety, its lawyers were interested in discrediting Professor Gilbert who had proven than electrical malfunctions could induce sudden accleration. That is why Toyota's testing question was different.

    Toyota's litigation defense team asked: how can we attack Professor Gilbert's testing. Having tried cases against many of those on Toyota's defense team, I would have been surprise if they could not come up with something.

    The important thing is not what Toyota said about their test results (again, the remarkable think would have been if Toyota said anything different) -- it is the purpose of the testing.

    Toyota is more worried about protecting its image and preparing for liability defenses than it is about safety and figuring out what actually causes the sudden acceleration problem. That's my concern with Toyota's testing and position. Toyota has continuously refused to acknoweldge that faulty electronics could play a role in the sudden acceleration problem.

    When lives are on the line, shouldn't every option be in play? Most times in life, the actual fix is not as simple as replacing a floor mat or inserting a shim. As more sudden acceleration events arise even for cars that have had the recall fixes, it's becoming clearer and clearer that Toyota's remedies are't working.

    Tedi -- again, I respect your position and your passion. Thanks for engaging in a spirited debate.

  7. Gravatar for Brad

    In my opinion, Toyota (and their attorneys) would be much better served by ACTUALLY DETERMINING WHAT IS CAUSING THE SUDDEN ACCELERATION rather than getting into an academic pi$$ing contest about whose test is better.

    I understand the defense attorneys are looking for a leg to stand on in defending these cases, but as someone else pointed out - it's all sleight of hand. The public is letting Toyota say "watch THIS hand performing irrelevant testing, while the other hand is grasping at straws (or more accurately seemingly doing nothing productive to solve this problem)."

    Does anyone really care what is NOT causing the problem, when the problem still exists?!

  8. Gravatar for Facebook User

    I am surprised by the number of Facebook people who think Toyota's problems are a conspiracy to help support the GM bailout. For the conspiracy theorists, the real headline is buried in the text of this article. I have to remind them that long before the GM bailout was created by Bush (2008), The Detroit Free Press documented how Toyota stonewalled the investigation of these problems since at least 2003.

  9. Gravatar for Dan

    I have listened to the reports and the fixes and the cases even after the fixes for me I can't help but see a clear patern, none of these run away cars are never in reverse a mechnical issue would not know the difference but software would?

  10. Gravatar for tedi

    MEDIA Problem?

    CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- An accident here the other day claimed the lives of four women when their car slammed into a tree. But since they were riding in a 2000 Pontiac Bonneville instead of a 2010 Toyota Prius these women didn't rate the top slot on any national newscast -- or much mention on any newscast at all -- nor send people tweeting away in outrage nor stoke Internet chat room furor.

    They died in a car crash of unknown causes, returning home from a birthday celebration for Cathina on Saturday night, the Chicago Sun Times reported. Police continue their investigation. As the circus grows around every little Toyota engine burp, turn a thought to those four women. It'll help you keep your perspective on true tragedy

    I hope James Sikes are telling the truth. Timing are too good.

    CHP Officer Says Out-Of-Control Prius Did Not Appear To Have Stuck Pedal

    By SAN DIEGO — A California Highway Patrol officer described a harrowing, high-speed ride on Interstate 8 as he tried to help a Prius driver whose car wouldn't stop accelerating.

    Result of inspection

    "Everything was free and clear and, like I said, the brake and the accelerator were in their normal resting position as if you were just parked," said Neibert.

    FLINT (WJRT) -- (03/09/10)--A Flint family is speaking out as Toyota executives prepare to answer questions surrounding the death of their loved one. It was nearly two years ago when 77-year-old Guadalupe Alberto was killed while driving a 2005 Toyota Camry

    I don't rule out Toyota's fault but very fishy.

    Gas Pedal syndrom

    People especially aged tends to hit gas instead of Brakes.

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