Simon Constable, Dow Jones, Gordon Chang, Forbes & Jeff Bliss, KSFO radio

Who leaked the NHTSA findings about Toyota’s sudden acceleration and why?
Simon Constable, Dow Jones, Gordon Chang, Forbes & Jeff Bliss, KSFO talk to Lou Ann Hammond on the Nationally syndicated John Batchelor radio show about Toyota.
Does it matter that the NHTSA findings were leaked? Or is it Much ado about nothing
Only to the attorneys.
An Attorney in the midwest that specializes in vehicle accidents wrote, “So … who leaked these premature “early tests” to the Wall Street Journal? Since neither NHTSA or the DOT had released any actual findings yet and NHTSA refused to comment for the story… who does that leave? Toyota has jumped to conclusions as a PR stunt before and appears to have done it again.”
Did Toyota leak the story? Not according to Michael Ramsay, Wall Street Journal reporter. In a July 13, 2010 news hub video, about 45 seconds into the video,  Ramsay says “We have obtained some information from NHTSA on tests they have been conducting.”
That seems to be pretty straight forward where WSJ got the data.
Brett Emison is ranting and raving on the injury board blog that Toyota is evil and that “So, we know that Toyota jumps to conclusions with misleading statements, that Toyota lies about sudden acceleration, and that Toyota tries to intimidate those who disagree with it.”
I agree that Toyota has played the game better than the Yankees play baseball. Toyota has known since 2003 that they have a sudden acceleration problem. There have been cases opened and shut by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Toyota has even hired some NHTSA employees away from NHTSA.
The bigger question would be, if NHTSA had found Toyota culpable, would NHTSA be culpable for damages that weren’t found earlier as well.
Does it behoove NHTSA to get the word out that Toyota, and NHTSA, have not missed an electronic issue that would cause sudden acceleration for the past seven years?
Toyota is fixing a non-problem, just like Audi had to.
Why is important for the attorneys to blame this on Toyota? I believe the attorneys are suing Toyota, but if they could they would sue NHTSA as well.
Unfortunately for them, they can’t.
Does Toyota still face an uphill battle because of PR problems, and divisiveness inside Toyota?

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.

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