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Top U.S. lawmakers want Toyota to prove that problems aren't related to electronics

WASHINGTON — With Toyota Motor Corp. executives continuing to say that electronics problems are not causing sudden acceleration in its vehicles, two top lawmakers Friday demanded to see the proof.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., head of the panel's investigations subcommittee, formally requested results from internal tests that Toyota has said rule out its electronic throttle control system as the source of the runaway acceleration.

They also asked the company to make employees with "personal knowledge" of the testing available for congressional interviews.

"We do not understand the basis for Toyota's repeated assertions that it is 'confident' there are no electronic defects contributing to incidents of sudden unintended acceleration," Waxman and Stupak wrote to James Lentz, the company's top U.S. sales executive.

The request came after the Department of Transportation released data Thursday showing that more than 60 people have complained of sudden acceleration incidents in vehicles that have been repaired by Toyota as part of the recalls to address the problem.

The two lawmakers said documents provided to their committee in response to a request last month "did not provide convincing substantiation." Additional documents Toyota sent to the committee, some of which were written in Japanese, failed to show that "a rigorous study had taken place," they said.

Toyota acknowledged receipt of the committee's inquiry Friday and said it will cooperate.

Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide to address problems including sudden acceleration, prompting scrutiny from Congress.

Top U.S. lawmakers want Toyota to prove that problems aren't related to electronics 03/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 5, 2010 10:38pm]
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