Toyota Statement on Media Reports Regarding Internal Legal Memo

By Joel Arellano | March 01, 2010
Remember the post where the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee discovered a memo circulating within Toyota crowing about saving the company millions by limiting the recalled vehicles? Well, here's Toyota's response: [EDITORS' Note: The memo below actually refers to the case, Greenberg vs. Toyota Motor Sales, which was settled. It is not connected to media reports where Edolpus Towns, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, references another internal Toyota memo. We thank Toyota for the clarification.] Various media reports have recently mischaracterized a 2005 privileged legal memo, recently subpoenaed by Congress, as dealing with sudden unintended acceleration. However, the words "unintended acceleration" or "sudden acceleration" and "sudden unintended acceleration" appear nowhere in this memo. Moreover, the lawsuit that is discussed in the memo, Greenberg vs. Toyota Motor Sales, et al, was focused on transmission hesitation and shifting, not sudden acceleration. As Mr. Greenberg stated in his complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California: "Drivers expecting to feel their car accelerate when they depress the gas pedal have been shocked to discover that, in certain driving conditions, their car does nothing for roughly 1.5 seconds. While this hesitation sounds insignificant, it is an eternity for drivers expecting the conventional acceleration displayed by other vehicles." Mr. Greenberg does not allege in his lawsuit that he had experienced sudden unintended acceleration. In fact, the only reference to sudden unintended acceleration in Mr. Greenberg's entire 40-page complaint is a short paragraph referencing unrelated reports of alleged sudden acceleration incidents. The complaint lists questions "common" to all alleged class action members, and that list mentions only throttle hesitation, not unintended acceleration. Mr. Greenberg's case was dismissed by the courts before going to trial. The countermeasures Toyota undertook at this time related to efforts to achieve greater customer satisfaction with smoother shifting between gears in the automatic transmission, not, as has been reported, unintended acceleration. Press release via Toyota

1.5 seconds? Nothing in a car should take 1.5 seconds to do, let alone a gear shift.