WASHINGTON -- Toyota Motor Corp. has failed to provide congressional investigators with documents to support the company’s contention that its tests have shown no link between electronic defects and unwanted acceleration in its vehicles, two senior lawmakers say.
Reps. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Bart Stupak, chairman of the committee’s oversight panel, asked Toyota today to produce employees with direct knowledge of the company’s testing efforts so the employees can be interviewed next week.
“Despite our repeated requests, the record before the committee is most notable for what is missing: the absence of documents showing that Toyota has systematically investigated the possibility of electronic defects that could cause sudden unintended acceleration,” said today’s letter from Waxman, D-Calif., and Stupak, D-Mich.
Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight promised cooperation.
“Toyota has already agreed to keep the committee informed on a regular basis,” she said.
Knight said Toyota this week had given the committee the results of tests said to show that a Southern Illinois University professor’s experiments demonstrating that failures of electronic throttle controls on Toyotas could not be replicated in the real world.
The company also has hired the Exponent research firm to examine possible connections between electronic defects and unintended acceleration, Knight said.
Separately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the number of unintended-acceleration complaints from Toyota owners whose vehicles have been recalled and repaired ballooned to 60 from 10 this week.
“We are determined to get to the bottom of this,” NHTSA chief David Strickland said in an e-mail last night.
All the complainants have said they brought their vehicles in for repair after they were recalled for floor mat entrapment or sticky gas pedals. The recalls began in October.
That the vehicles have continued to lose speed control even after being repaired suggests the cause may be electronic.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda told lawmakers last week that he is “absolutely confident that there is no problem” with the electronic throttle control system because “very rigorous testing” by the automaker had revealed no problems.