2009年12月2日水曜日

トヨタ マット以外にも欠陥か

トヨタ車の欠陥はマット以外にもあるようだ。
 トヨタ自動車が米国で販売した車が暴走した問題で、アクセルペダルと
エンジンをつなぐ電子制御システムに欠陥がある可能性があると
ロサンゼルス・タイムズが報じた。
 トヨタは、報道に関し「電子制御システムに問題はないと考えている」
とコメントした。

リコール対象車種
カムリ(Camry、2007~10年製)
アバロン(Avalon、05~10年製)
プリウス(Prius、04~09年製)
タコマ(Tacoma、05~10年製)
タンドラ(Tundra、07~10年製)
レクサスES350(Lexus ES350、07~10年製)
レクサスIS250(Lexus IS250、06~10年製)
レクサスIS350(Lexus IS350、06~10年製)

DBWを採用してから、予想外の急加速の報告が5倍に急増したとのこと。
・2002,2003年式カムリでは、ECMが38mphから42mphに急加速する不具合が
 あり、再プログラムで対応。
・2006年式カムリのEMC試験では、誤動作を確認
・2008年式カムリのEMC試験では、1000rpmから急加速を確認

マットとアクセルペダル交換の他にソフトウェア変更で済むブレーキ
オーバーライドシステムを組込むようだ。

NHTSAの試験(?)では、以前日本でも不具合が多かったオートクルーズでの
EMC要因による対策は、DBWでは万全ではなかったと言う結果のようだ。
オートクルーズの急発進、急加速への運転手が行なう対策は、
「ブレーキを強く踏む」と言う基本的なものだった。
米国の多くの運転手は、もしかしたら、右足でアクセルペダル、左足で
ブレーキペダルを踏むと言う体勢なのだろうか。
この体勢で、急加速時、ブレーキを踏むことができるのだろうか。
トヨタの高級車は、急加速時、サイドブレーキを使えないことも問題なの
かもしれない。


Toyota Recalls 4 Million Vehicles CBS

---トヨタ車、電子系統に欠陥か 急加速の問題で米紙報道---
2009/11/30 10:36 【共同通信】
http://www.47news.jp/CN/200911/CN2009113001000067.html

 【ニューヨーク共同】トヨタ自動車が米国で販売した車が暴走した問題で、アクセルペダルとエンジンをつなぐ電子制御システムに欠陥がある可能性がある、と29日付の米紙ロサンゼルス・タイムズが報じた。トヨタはペダルを短くする改修の実施などを決めたが、同紙は対応が不十分との専門家の見方を示した。
 トヨタはペダルがフロアマットに引っ掛かって車が暴走する恐れがあるとして9月に所有者にマットの取り外しを要請。同紙は、取り外し後も急加速した事例があると指摘した。
 一方、トヨタは30日、報道に関し「電子制御システムに問題はないと考えている」(広報部)とコメントした。
 同紙が米道路交通安全局の記録を調べた結果、主力車「カムリ」と高級車「レクサスES」について、ペダルの情報をセンサーなどで伝達する電子システムの機能を2002年モデルに採用してから、予想外の急加速の報告が急増。1999~01年モデルの年平均26件に比べ、02~04年モデルでは同132件という。


---Toyota Pledges Improvement---
11/30/2009 11:55:00 AM
By Light & Medium Truck
http://www.ttnews.com/articles/lmtbase.aspx?storyid=628

Following the announced recall of almost 4.3 million vehicles in the United States to fix accelerator pedals and corrosion problems, Toyota Motor Corp. officials said the company vowed to improve its vehicles.

The company also will install automatic brake systems in some vehicles after drivers reported cases of sudden acceleration, the U.S. Transportation Department said last week. The recall covers eight models, including the Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks, as well as Camry, Lexus and Prius cars, Bloomberg News reported.

The company said last Tuesday it was recalling 110,000 Tundra pickups for frame corrosion that can damage brake lines and dislodge spare tires, Bloomberg said. That was in addition to the more than 4.26 million vehicles it was recalling after reports that the floor mat on late model products interfered with the accelerator pedal and caused a fatal accident in California.

“The frame issue with the Tundra and Tacoma is an obvious defect,” said Aaron Bragman, a product analyst at IHS Global Insight Inc. in Troy, Mich. The “unintended acceleration issue is far more nebulous, however. Given the court of public opinion, Toyota has to respond,” Bloomberg reported.

“We have to listen to our customers and make better cars,” President Akio Toyoda said in a speech to journalists in Tokyo last month, Bloomberg said.

Toyota plans to shorten accelerator pedals and will reshape the floor surface under the pedal in some vehicles, Irv Miller, a group vice president for the company’s U.S. sales unit in Torrance, California, said yesterday on a conference call with reporters, Bloomberg said.


---Data point to Toyota's throttles, not floor mats---
By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian
November 29, 2009
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-throttle29-2009nov29,0,1231630,full.story

Amid widening concern over acceleration events, Toyota has cited 'floor mat entrapment.' But reports point to another potential cause: the electronic throttles that have replaced mechanical systems.

Eric Weiss was stopped at a busy Long Beach intersection last month when he said his 2008 Toyota Tacoma pickup unexpectedly started accelerating, forcing him to stand on the brakes to keep the bucking truck from plowing into oncoming cars.

Toyota Motor Corp. says the gas pedal design in Weiss' truck and more than 4 million other Toyota and Lexus vehicles makes them vulnerable to being trapped open by floor mats, and on Wednesday, it announced a costly recall to fix the problem.

But Weiss is convinced his incident wasn't caused by a floor mat. He said he removed the mats in his truck months earlier on the advice of his Toyota dealer after his truck suddenly accelerated and rear-ended a BMW.

"The brakes squealed and the engine roared," the 52-year-old cabinet maker said of the most recent episode. "I don't want to drive the truck anymore, but I don't want anyone else to, either."

Amid widening concern over unintended acceleration events, including an Aug. 28 crash near San Diego that killed a California Highway Patrol officer and his family, Toyota has repeatedly pointed to "floor mat entrapment" as the problem.

But accounts from motorists such as Weiss, interviews with auto safety experts and a Times review of thousands of federal traffic safety incident reports all point to another potential cause: the electronic throttles that have replaced mechanical systems in recent years.

The Times found that complaints of sudden acceleration in many Toyota and Lexus vehicles shot up almost immediately after the automaker adopted the so-called drive-by-wire system over the last decade. That system uses sensors, microprocessors and electric motors -- rather than a traditional link such as a steel cable -- to connect the driver's foot to the engine.

For some Toyota models, reports of unintended acceleration increased more than fivefold after drive-by-wire systems were adopted, according to the review of thousands of consumer complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Toyota first installed electronic throttles in 2002 model year Lexus ES and Camry sedans. Total complaints of sudden acceleration for the Lexus and Camry in the 2002-04 model years averaged 132 a year. That's up from an average of 26 annually for the 1999-2001 models, the Times review found.

The average number of sudden-acceleration complaints involving the Tacoma jumped more than 20 times, on average, in the three years after Toyota's introduction of drive-by-wire in these trucks in 2005. Increases were also found on the hybrid Prius, among other models.

Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said the automaker could not explain the trend. But Toyota has consistently held that electronic control systems, including drive-by-wire, are not to blame.

"Six times in the past six years NHTSA has undertaken an exhaustive review of allegations of unintended acceleration on Toyota and Lexus vehicles," Toyota said in a statement this month. "Six times the agency closed the investigation without finding any electronic engine control system malfunction to be the cause of unintended acceleration."

NHTSA officials have consistently said they have not found any electronic defects. "In the high-speed incidents, which are the type of crashes in which death or serious injury is most likely, the only pattern NHTSA has found to explain at least some of them are pedal entrapment by floor mats," a spokeswoman said in a written statement.

Toyota has been under a spotlight since the San Diego crash, in which the driver's desperate efforts to stop the car were recorded on a 911 emergency call made by a passenger.

After that incident, The Times reported that sudden-acceleration events involving Toyota vehicles have resulted in at least 19 deaths since the introduction of the 2002 model year. By comparison, NHTSA says all other automakers combined had 11 fatalities related to sudden acceleration in the same period.

Independent electronics and engineering experts say that the drive-by-wire systems differ from automaker to automaker and that the potential for electronic throttle control systems to malfunction may have been dismissed too quickly by both Toyota and federal safety officials.

Unlike mechanical systems, electronic throttles -- which have the look and feel of traditional gas pedals -- are vulnerable to software glitches, manufacturing defects and electronic interference that could cause sudden acceleration, they say.

Ask the computer

"With the electronic throttle, the driver is not really in control of the engine," said Antony Anderson, a Britain-based electrical engineering consultant who investigates electrical failures and has testified in sudden-acceleration lawsuits. "You are telling the computer, will you please move the throttle to a certain level, and the computer decides if it will obey you."

Although Toyota says it knows of no electronic defects that would cause a vehicle to surge out of control, it has issued at least three technical service bulletins to its dealers warning of problems with the new electronic throttles in the 2002 and 2003 Camry.

The throttle systems on six-cylinder engines can cause the vehicle to "exhibit a surging during light throttle input at speeds between 38 mph and 42 mph," according to one of the bulletins that was published by Alldata, a vehicle information company. The solution provided to dealers was to reprogram the engine control module.

NHTSA, the nation's primary agency for auto safety, has conducted a total of eight investigations of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles since 2003, prompted by defect petitions from motorists and its own examination of complaints. But the agency has tested electronic throttle systems only twice in those probes, its records show.

Three years ago, the agency asked Toyota to test an electronic throttle component from a 2006 Camry, a task the company delegated to the Japanese supplier that manufactured the part. The supplier exonerated the throttle, and then NHTSA allowed Toyota to keep virtually the entire 74-page report almost completely confidential. The report, posted on the agency's website, has dozens of redacted pages.

The other test, conducted at a NHTSA laboratory in Massachusetts, found that a Toyota throttle exhibited unusual behavior when researchers applied a magnetic field to the device's sensitive electronics. Engine speed surged by 1,000 revolutions per minute, according to a 2008 report by the agency's Vehicle Research and Test Center.

Nonetheless, the lab concluded that the system "showed no vulnerabilities to electric signal activities." The details of the experiment were not explained in the lab report, and the agency never explained the apparent contradiction.

Advanced systems

The electronic throttle was first introduced by BMW in 1988.Like a conventional throttle system, it controls the flow of air into the engine. Today, every new Toyota vehicle sold in the U.S. uses drive-by-wire. The systems cost less to install on the assembly line and increase the efficiency of the vehicle.

To run these advanced throttle systems, each automaker develops its own electronic control modules and proprietary software that has unique control logic. The operations of the systems are opaque to consumers, as are potential failures.

In a worst-case scenario, consultant Anderson says, stray electrical voltages, electromagnetic signals or bad sensor readings could cause an undetectable error within the car's network of up to 70 microprocessors, setting off an unpredictable chain of reactions. One of those, he said, could be a command to completely open the throttle.

The auto industry has battled allegations of electronic defects in sudden-acceleration lawsuits for more than two decades, arguing that they are not caused by any vehicle defect.

Richard Schmidt, a former UCLA psychology professor and now an auto industry consultant specializing in human motor skills, said the problem almost always lies with drivers who step on the wrong pedal.

"When the driver says they have their foot on the brake, they are just plain wrong," Schmidt said. "The human motor system is not perfect, and it doesn't always do what it is told."

To be sure, the complaints by Toyota and Lexus owners about sudden acceleration involve a tiny share of the company's vehicles on the road.

But runaway acceleration represents a high proportion of the complaints filed by consumers about Toyota in federal databases. For the 2007 Lexus ES sedan, for example, 74 of 132 complaints filed with NHTSA alleged sudden acceleration.

And independent experts say the number of complaints actually filed is only a tiny fraction of all potential problems, because most people don't bother filing a report.

Critics say NHTSA hasn't kept pace with technological changes.

The auto industry has undergone a technological revolution in the last decade, and today about 25% of a vehicle's price reflects its electronics content. Nonetheless, NHTSA has adopted few, if any, standards for designing or testing vehicle electronics, according to industry officials. Indeed, the agency's two-page safety standard for accelerators was adopted in 1973.

Dale Kardos, who runs a consulting firm that helps automakers with regulatory issues, said manufacturers had repeatedly tried to get that standard updated because they feared they could no longer comply. "The industry would like to see standards written to reflect modern technology," Kardos said.

Instead, independent organizations and the industry itself are setting standards and developing safety policies. The International Organization for Standardization, a nongovernment group that sets industrial standards, recently introduced a new standard for automakers to protect vehicle electronics.

Supplier TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., which makes computerized controls for brakes and air bags, said its systems have multiple layers of redundancy to make sure electronic faults are detected and isolated.

"Manufacturers' standards are far above the regulatory standards," said Ian Harvey, TRW's executive lead for electromechanical compatibility. "You wouldn't want somebody to make a cellphone call and the air bag goes off. That potentially could happen if you didn't take the proper precautions."

Test drives

Despite the huge increase in complexity, when NHTSA investigators conduct field tests of alleged malfunctions of Toyota throttle systems, they rarely do more than drive suspect vehicles for a few miles, test the brakes and plug a diagnostic tool into their onboard computers to look for error codes, investigation records show.

Michael Pecht, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland who has studied sudden acceleration for 10 years, said it's nearly impossible to replicate an electronic control system fault simply by driving a short distance.

"These are not things that occur every day. If it occurred a lot, you could track it down. If it occurs once in 10,000 trips, then it is difficult to find," he said.

What's more, said Huei Peng, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Michigan and a specialist in vehicle control systems, many of the kinds of electronic errors that a modern car is susceptible to are not detectable by the car's fault detection system.

"When there's no error code, it doesn't mean there's no error," Peng said.

Despite the potential risks associated with electronic systems, NHTSA's own reports indicate it often does not test them while investigating unintended acceleration.

In a 2005 probe of Lexus ES vehicles, NHTSA reported that its investigator reviewed two vehicles that had allegedly surged out of control, but that "no interrogation or communication with the electronic systems was performed" before giving them a clean bill of health.

Texas resident Thomas Ritter, who has a mechanical engineering degree and spent 15 years as an engineer at General Motors, Chrysler and other auto and truck makers as well as 25 years designing oil exploration equipment, believes Toyota's acceleration problem lies in the electronics.

Last July, his wife was driving her 2006 Lexus ES 330 with four grandchildren near Houston when it accelerated out of control. To avoid a wreck, she crossed four lanes of traffic before smashing into a masonry sign, totaling the car and deploying the air bags. No one was seriously injured.

"When you think about a machine operated by computers, almost anything can go wrong," Ritter said.

A 'smart pedal'

Toyota announced Wednesday that it had developed a series of fixes to prevent floor mats from causing sudden acceleration.

In 4.26 million vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, Toyota said it would cut off a segment of the accelerator pedal and then later install a newly designed pedal. It also will add a so-called smart pedal, software that cuts engine power any time both the accelerator pedal and brake pedal are depressed at the same time.

Such software has already been adopted as a safety feature by a number of automakers, including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW, Nissan and Chrysler, the companies said.

Independent auto safety experts said that though all of Toyota's fixes would help reduce the problem, it has not gotten to the root cause.

"These incidents are coming in left and right where you can't blame the floor mats," said Sean Kane, president of the consulting firm Safety Research and Strategies. "So they are chipping away at a problem that is widespread and complicated without having to unravel a root cause that could be very expensive."


---回復米市場 トヨタ細心 426万台無償交換、信頼獲得へ全力---
2009/11/27
http://www.business-i.jp/news/sou-page/news/200911270014a.nwc

 米国で高級車レクサスの運転席のフロアマットが外れてアクセルペダルに引っかかり、事故につながる恐れがある問題で、トヨタ自動車は25日、販売されているレクサスなど8車種426万台を対象に、運転席側のフロアマットとアクセルペダルを無償交換すると発表した。また、今回の改善措置とは別に、一部車種に新たに安全向上機能を追加する。トヨタは安全性と品質の高さをアピールし、不振脱出の兆しが見え始めた米国での信頼回復に全力を挙げる。
 対象車種はカムリやハイブリッド車(HV)のプリウス、高級車ブランドのレクサス「ES350」など。米カリフォルニア州で今年8月、ES350が時速約190キロで衝突し、乗っていた4人が死亡した事故などが米運輸省道路交通安全局(NHTSA)に報告されており、トヨタが事故原因を調査していた。
 トヨタは自主改善措置としてフロアマットを改良品と交換するとともに、対象車両のアクセルペダル形状の変更などの改修を行う。また、今回の改善措置とは別に、レクサスやカムリなど5車種で、アクセルペダルとブレーキペダルを同時に踏んだ場合にアクセルが緩んで暴走を防ぐ機能を追加する。2010年中に米国で先行導入し、今後、グローバルで販売する他車種でも装備する方針。この措置について、NHTSAは「歓迎する」とコメントした。
 無償交換には約400億円かかるとみられるが、トヨタはリコールに備えて5000億円近い引当金を積んでおり、「業績への影響はない」(関係者)という。 トヨタが「ペダルに欠陥はなかった」と説明して事件との因果関係を否定しながらも、過去最大規模の自主改修に踏み切るのは、収益改善のカギを握る米国でのイメージダウンを最小限にとどめたいためだ。
 トヨタの09年の米国向け販売台数は前年比約2割減の170万台程度を見込む。マイナスとはいえ、国内市場の140万台を上回るまさに「ドル箱市場」だ。プリウスなどのHVや燃費性能の良い小型車が売れているほか、レクサスの10月の販売実績は前年同月比約2割増。「市場は着実に回復しつつある」(同社幹部)と期待を寄せている。
 米保険団体が最近発表した「10年の最も安全な車」でも、トヨタから1車種も選ばれなかった。そして、今回のマット問題。トヨタに逆風が吹いている。
 岡三証券の岩元泰晶アナリストは「米国の消費者心理には、税金をつぎこんで救済したGMを支援したい気持ちがあり、“準米国企業”とみられていたトヨタに対する(温かい)ムードも変わってきている」とみる。(鈴木正行)


---トヨタ、米販売8車種のペダル無償交換へ 床マット問題で---
2009年11月26日 12:10 発信地:ワシントンD.C./米国
http://www.afpbb.com/article/economy/2667944/4961789

【11月26日 AFP】トヨタ自動車(Toyota Motor)は25日、米国で販売された車種でフロアマットにアクセルペダルが引っかかり全開の状態から戻らなくなる問題で、危険防止措置として、8車種約380万台を対象にアクセルペダルの無償交換を行うと発表した。
 カリフォルニア(California)州で発生した、運転席のフロアマットが原因で起きたトヨタ車の暴走死亡事故を受けての措置で、対象は米国内で販売された「カムリ(Camry、2007~10年製)」「アバロン(Avalon、05~10年製)」「プリウス(Prius、04~09年製)」「タコマ(Tacoma、05~10年製)」「タンドラ(Tundra、07~10年製)」「レクサスES350(Lexus ES350、07~10年製)」「レクサスIS250(Lexus IS250、06~10年製)」「レクサスIS350(Lexus IS350、06~10年製)」の8車種。
 アクセルペダルの形状変更のほか、一部車種についてはペダル下の床表面の形状も変更するという。また、一部車種で追加の安全措置として、アクセルとブレーキを同時に踏んだ際にアクセルが自動的に緩み、ブレーキを優先する「ブレーキオーバーライドシステム」を採用する。


---Toyota to fix 'very dangerous' gas pedal defects---
By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian
November 26, 2009
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-recall26-2009nov26,0,7792141,full.story

The recall, which covers 4.26 million cars and trucks, is aimed at reducing the vehicles' risk of sudden accelerations, which have led to 19 deaths since the 2002 model year.

Moving to correct what federal regulators have termed a "very dangerous problem," Toyota Motor Corp. said it would modify and replace gas pedals on 4.26 million cars and trucks to reduce the vehicles' risk of accelerating out of control.

Toyota said the measures were designed to prevent floor mats from jamming the accelerator pedal open. As an additional precaution, the Japanese automaker said most of its cars would be modified so that the brake overrides the accelerator if both pedals are pressed at the same time.

The action follows widespread reports of runaway Toyota and Lexus vehicles, including an Aug. 28 crash near San Diego that killed a California Highway Patrol officer and three family members. Sudden acceleration incidents involving Toyota-made cars and trucks have claimed 19 lives since the 2002 model year, The Times has reported, which federal officials say is more than all other manufacturers combined.

"We are very, very confident that we have addressed this issue," Toyota spokesman Irv Miller told reporters in detailing the recall plans Wednesday.

Toyota declined to estimate the cost of the recall, the biggest in its history. But industry experts said it could easily top $250 million, citing the time and labor that will be needed to service more than 4 million vehicles.

Auto industry experts, while crediting Toyota for initiating the recall, questioned why the automaker had taken so long to act.

A review of consumer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows at least 1,000 incidents of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles in the last eight years, along with scores of accidents and injuries as well as untold property damage.

"They knew something was wrong way before that San Diego accident happened," said Rebecca Lindland, an auto industry analyst for consulting firm IHS Global Insight. "That was just the catalyst to get them to finally do something."

The recall was first announced in September, before Toyota had determined a solution to the problem. At the time, the automaker told drivers of seven models of Lexus and Toyota vehicles to temporarily remove their floor mats.

Toyota now says that it will begin notifying customers in December to bring their cars into dealerships starting in January. It will offer to reconfigure pedals on seven models of Toyota and Lexus vehicles and replace all-weather rubber floor mats and add new software to implement the brake override, at no charge to owners.

Eventually, the automaker will offer to completely replace the pedals in affected models and make the safety software a standard feature in all new vehicles. The replacement pedals have not yet been designed or manufactured.

Until recently, Toyota has maintained that its vehicles had no underlying defect and that runaway accelerations were caused by incorrectly installed floor mats wedging the accelerator pedal into a wide-open position.

The automaker's insistence that the vehicles had no defect drew a sharp rebuke this month from NHTSA, which said Toyota made "inaccurate and misleading" statements about the nature of the problem.

Instead, NHTSA said, the vehicles appeared to have flawed pedal and interior designs that could make "pedal entrapment" more likely.

By calling for pedal, floor mat, computer and other modifications, Toyota's plan appears to affirm that notion. In a statement Wednesday, NHTSA called the plan a "remedy."

Toyota presented its final plan for the recall to NHTSA officials Tuesday, Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said. With the go-ahead from NHTSA, he said, Toyota will now prepare informational packets for consumers and repair procedures for dealers.

Lyons said that because the all-weather floor mats used in North America are not used in other parts of the world, the recall would not expand beyond the U.S. and Canada.

"It's not being investigated in other markets," he said.

Toyota said the recall affects about 3.86 million vehicles in the U.S. and 400,000 in Canada. To reduce the risk of the mat snagging the gas pedal, technicians will cut off about three-quarters of an inch from the bottom of the pedal.

On Toyota Camry and Avalon and Lexus ES models, they also will replace thick foam padding under the carpeting with thinner pads to allow more clearance between the pedal and floor.

Perhaps the most important change will be the modification of software in the vehicles' engine control system that will override the throttle any time the brake is applied. The remedy will be made initially in the Camry, Avalon, Lexus ES and Lexus IS sedans but eventually in all models.

That software, often called a smart pedal, is in use by many other manufacturers as a protection against unintended acceleration but has never been used in Toyota vehicles.

Independent safety experts said that, despite the extraordinary size and cost of the recall, it may not be enough to address the problem. Many of these experts believe there may be a malfunction in the electronic engine control systems, a contention Toyota repeatedly disputed.

"I suspect the real problem is that there is something wrong with the electronics in the engine," said Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSA chief and a consumer activist.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the consumer group the Center for Auto Safety, believes that the acceleration problems extend beyond the vehicles that Toyota recalled and that the brake override system should be applied to all Toyotas.

"There have been six defect petitions and investigations into floor mats on vehicles not covered by this recall," said Ditlow, who estimated Toyota's cost for this recall at more than $250 million.

Bulent Ezal's wife was killed when his 2005 Camry accelerated and plunged off a cliff in Pismo Beach, Calif. But that vehicle was not included in the recall, which affects only 2007 and later Camrys.

"The recall does nothing for my client," said attorney Raymond Paul Johnson, who has filed a product liability suit against Toyota on behalf of Ezal. His case is one of at least 10 lawsuits against Toyota for unintended acceleration, including two filed this month requesting class-action status.

Several Toyota owners who have experienced sudden acceleration were skeptical that the automaker's recall plans will be effective.

Laura Paulson of San Diego said she was unable to stop her surging 2008 Tacoma pickup from accelerating through the back wall of her garage, destroying a bathroom on the other side. Both her dealer and Toyota's national sales division told her the vehicle had no defects, and news that the automaker would now alter the vehicle's pedal did not impress Paulson. "I don't think this is going to solve the problem," she said. "The theory that floor mats cause this just does not add up."

Mary Ann Hoffman of Medford, Ore., won't be taking part in the recall. After three frightening incidents of unintended acceleration, including one with her 15-year-old daughter behind the wheel, she took her 2007 Prius to the dealership.

Last week mechanics and a Toyota field representative told her that they believed the problem lay in the pedal, which was replaced. But Hoffman, who thinks there could be some deeper electronic or mechanical problem with the car, had lost faith in the vehicle and Toyota altogether.

"I think this recall is window dressing," Hoffman said. "I don't think the problem is the pedal or the floor mat or any of that."

On Monday, she traded in her Prius for a 2008 BMW 5-series.

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