As two days of Congressional hearings begin today, there is one question above all others that will be front and center: are the electronics in Toyota gas pedals flawed?
Toyota says no.
At least one outside expert disagrees.
At the end of the day, these conflicting views will be crystallize whether Toyota has truly solved the problem of unintended acceleration, or if the shims and re-designed gas pedals are band aids that will not truly fix the issue of sticky gas pedals.
And make no mistake; Congressional investigators aren't buying what Toyota is selling when it comes to defending its electronic throttle controls. Toyota hired Exponent, an outside firm, to test the electronics and the analysis found no problems. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee looked at those results and found them to be of little use.
In fact, the committee consulted outside experts who call Toyota's tests, "flawed." One expert said he "would not consider this (Toyota) report to be of value to the committee, to NHTSA or to Toyota in getting to the root causes of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles.”
All of this means that as much as Toyota executives will defend the design of its electronic throttle controls and deny that flawed electronics are behind Toyota's speeding up suddenly, members of Congress are unlikely to buy it.
It will be a classic case of he said/she said.
Which will ultimately set up the question of whether NHTSA buys Toyota's defense of its electronics or if it orders Toyota to re-work the design of the electronics running the throttle in Toyota cars and trucks.
At the end of the questioning and the pointing fingers on Capitol Hill, THAT will be the big question surrounding Toyota.
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