Toyota denies electronic problems in cars

The automaker is confident electronic problems aren't to blame for sudden acceleration

Toyota has again ruled out the possibility that electronic problems are to blame for instances of sudden acceleration in some of its cars, it said ahead of a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., Tuesday on the issue.

"We are confident that no problems exist with the electronic throttle control system in our vehicles," said James Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., in a prepared statement submitted to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

"We have designed our electronic throttle control system with multiple fail-safe mechanisms to shut off or reduce engine power in the event of a system failure. We have done extensive testing of this system and have never found a malfunction that caused unintended acceleration," the statement said.

It was submitted ahead of a committee hearing that will see Lentz answer questions on the problem and Toyota's handling of the incident. Toyota originally blamed loose floor mats for the problem but later said some of the instances could be caused by wear on accelerator pedals.

Critics have continued to claim that electronic problems could be at the root of the sudden acceleration but Toyota said further tests had ruled that out.

"Additionally, in December we asked Exponent, a world-class engineering and scientific consulting firm, to conduct a comprehensive, independent analysis of our electronic throttle control system with an unlimited budget. Their interim report confirms that it works as designed. Toyota will make the results of this comprehensive evaluation available to the public when it is completed."

Toyota has been widely criticized for its slow response to the problems -- something that Lentz is expected to acknowledge during the hearing.

On Wednesday Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, and Yoshimi Inaba, president and CEO of Toyota Motor North America, will testify in front of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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Martyn Williams

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