I’m not a big fan of today’s “investigative journalism”, because all too often it turns out to be a witch hunt designed only to improve ratings. Thus, I viewed the above video with some skepticism. Dave Gilbert, a professor from Southern Illinois University, claims to have found circumstance under which he can re-create Toyota’s sudden acceleration problems. By shorting unspecified electronics, Gilbert is able to induce sudden acceleration even at partial throttle openings. Worse yet (and counter to Toyota’s claims), he’s able to do this without tripping a trouble code or dashboard warning lights.
Is it hype or a legitimate cause for concern? To be certain, we’d need more details, which the video simply doesn’t provide. First, what is being shorted? Second, what is the likelihood that such a short could be caused by moisture, corrosion, solder bloom, etc. in a real world environment? Finally, were the OEM parts modified in any way to promote the sudden acceleration and prove ABC’s point? Gilbert had previously modified a Toyota Tundra, using a resistor to short two independent circuits and duplicate the unintended acceleration. Toyota rebuffed this, saying that such a short would be virtually impossible in a real world situation. Furthermore, it would illuminate dash warning lights and record an error code, counter to Gilbert’s claims.
Toyota has requested access to the Toyota Avalon used in the ABC video, but they won’t get it before Gilbert testifies in front of the House committee today. If Gilbert’s right, then Toyota’s credibility in the US may be permanently damaged and I’d expect some senior level Toyota heads to roll.
If Gilbert’s wrong, and the video is proven to be staged under questionable circumstances, Toyota’s reputation still suffers. Ultimately, any repercussions for ABC news will be very small in comparison.
Source: Left Lane News