Toyota: We're Sorry for Slow Response

Driver of runaway car says 'shame on you' to company, feds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 23, 2010 1:25 PM CST
Toyota: We're Sorry for Slow Response
An emotional Rhonda Smith testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, about her experiences with her Lexus, before the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing   (AP Photo)

The president of Toyota's US operations insisted today that electronic problems did not contribute to sudden acceleration of its cars, drawing sharp criticism from lawmakers. "We are confident that no problems exist with the electric throttle control system in our vehicles," James Lentz told a House panel. Rather, floormats and sticky accelerators are to blame. Rep. Bart Stupak dismissed the claim, saying it was based on a "flawed study conducted by a company retained by Toyota's lawyers."

The panel also heard from a woman who says she almost died when her Lexus suddenly accelerated and took her for a 6-mile terror ride. "Shame on you, Toyota," testified Rhonda Smith. Then she added a second "shame on you" directed at federal highway safety regulators. Despite his protestations, Lentz offered an apology for the problems that may have killed 34 people since 2000. "It has taken us too long to come to grips with a rare but serious set of safety issues, despite all of our good faith efforts." (More toyota congressional hearing stories.)

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