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Toyota disputes critic who blames electronics

NEW YORK (AP) - Toyota Motor Corp. plans Monday to try to
undercut suggestions that its electronics systems caused the sudden
acceleration problems that led to the recall of more than 8 million
vehicles.
The automaker plans an event in which it will seek to debunk a
critic who claims faulty gas pedals did not cause the sudden
acceleration.
Toyota will aim to duplicate the scenario created by David W.
Gilbert, a professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Gilbert told Congress on Feb. 23 that he was able to recreate
sudden acceleration in a Toyota vehicle by manipulating its
electronics.
The company is calling in the director of Stanford University's
Center for Automotive Research to try to refute the claims. Toyota
said Stanford professor Chris Gerdes will show that the
malfunctions Gilbert produced "are completely unrealistic under
real-world conditions and can easily be reproduced on a wide range
of vehicles made by other manufacturers."
Stanford's Center for Automotive Research is funded by a group
of auto companies, including Toyota.
Toyota also has hired a consulting firm to study whether
electronic problems could cause unintended acceleration. The firm,
Exponent Inc., released an interim report that has found no link
between the two.
The event planned Monday is part of a broad campaign by the
world's biggest automaker to discredit critics, repair its damaged
reputation and begin restoring trust in its vehicles.
On Friday, a congressional committee questioned Toyota's efforts
to find the causes of the problems. It also questioned whether the
company had sufficiently investigated the issue of electronic
defects.
Toyota executives will also address recall issues at its annual
suppliers meeting in Kentucky on Tuesday.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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