#9 – 2005 TOYOTA CAMRY, SPEED CONTROL
The 2005 Toyota Camry is part of the 2002-2006 model range.
NHTSA investigations related to “Speed Control”
• DP05-002; Opened August 5, 2005; Closed January 5, 2006; Vehicle Speed Control:
In a letter dated July 8, 2005, and after experiencing two incidents (and one crash) where he alleges his model year (my) 2002 Camry accelerated without driver input, Mr. Jordan Ziprin petitioned the national highway traffic safety administration’s (NHTSA) office of defects investigation (ODI) to commence a proceeding to determine the existence of a defect within the etc system in my 2002 to 2005 Toyota and Lexus vehicles, or to reopen a prior investigation preliminary evaluation (PE) 04-021. In a letter dated August 18, 2005, Mr. Ziprin amended his petition to include allegations of interrelated brake and acceleration problems that allegedly result in inappropriate and uncontrollable vehicle accelerations.
The 1172 vehicle owner questionnaire reports cited by the petitioner involve 4 Lexus and 15 Toyota models defining a population of 7 million vehicles. The reports typically alleged a defect in the brake system, the throttle control system, or a combination of both systems. In its review of the reports, ODI a) failed to find evidence to support the existence of a brake related defect in the cited models, and b) determined that many cited products were not equipped with etc. Accordingly, ODI restricted its analysis to the 432 petitioner reports involving my 2002 to 2005 Camry, Solara, and ES models (all equipped with etc) that alleged an abnormal throttle control event (see the January 3, 2006 federal register notice for further details).
About 40% of the 432 reports involve a driveability concern where the operator intentionally applies the throttle pedal, in expectation that the vehicle will accelerate, and then experiences a delay or hesitation in vehicle response. These reports involve vehicle response to intentional driver commands which ODI considers unrelated to the allegations raised by the petitioner. Therefore, the reports do not provide support for the investigation requested.
About 20% of the reports involve incidents where operators allege vehicle acceleration without driver input and an inability of the brake system to control the vehicle when applied. Neither the reports, nor the interviews conducted by ODI, identified any vehicle-based cause to explain the incidents or disclosed evidence to support that a failure of the brake or throttle control system had occurred. Because these reports do not indicate a distinct safety defect for investigation, the reports do not provide support for the investigation requested by the petitioner.
The remaining reports (~ 40%, similar to the petitioner’s and those of pe04-021) typically describe incidents where a vehicle is being maneuvered at slow speed in a close quarter situation at which point the operator alleges that the vehicle accelerates without driver input and crashes. In the aftermath, operators are unsure of whether the brakes were applied or not, sometimes stating there was insufficient time to use the brake; a crash occurred and the operator believes an uncommanded acceleration caused it. In spite of the effort expended during PE04-021 and during this analysis, ODI has not identified any vehicle-based cause to explain the reports, or uncovered any evidence to indicate that a throttle control system failure occurred. Therefore, the reports have ambiguous significance and do not constitute a basis on which any further investigative action is warranted.
Based on the analysis conducted, it is unlikely that the NHTSA would issue an order for the notification and remedy of a safety related defect at the conclusion of the investigation requested in the petition. Consequently, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA’s limited resources to best accomplish the agency’s safety mission, the petition is denied.
• DP06-003; opened September 14, 2006; closed April 3, 2007; engine surging:
The petitioner owns a my 2006 Toyota Camry with a 4-cylinder engine that was purchased new in January 2006. The petitioner also previously owned a my 2005 Camry. He alleges that both vehicles exhibited vehicle engine surging, which he described as a short duration (1 to 2 second) increase in engine speed occurring while the accelerator pedal is not depressed. In an initial interview, the petitioner estimated that 6 to 8 surge incidents, of varying severity, occurred in the my 2006 vehicle over the course of 10,000 miles and 7 months of ownership. The petitioner reports that the brake system is effective at overcoming the surge. However, he is concerned about reports filed with NHTSA alleging uncontrolled surging in my 2002 to 2006 Camry vehicles bringing those vehicles to a high rate of speed (in some cases, purportedly, with the brakes applied).
After review and analysis of the available information, ODI has not identified a vehicle-based defect that would have produced the alleged engine surge in the petitioner’s vehicle, nor was it able to witness such an event when road testing the petitioner’s vehicle. Evaluation of a suspect throttle actuator removed from the petitioner’s vehicle did not reveal a component problem. Warranty and parts sales of the actuator are unremarkable. These data do not support the existence of a wide-spread defect or ongoing concern. The fault detection and reaction strategy described in Toyota’s technical documents indicates that a loss of throttle control due to a component or system failure would be detected within a one second period after which engine power would be limited. The petitioner’s my 2006 vehicle brake system overcomes full engine power at easily achievable brake pedal forces.
Based on the analysis conducted, it is unlikely that NHTSA would issue an order for the notification and remedy of a safety related defect at the conclusion of the investigation requested in the petition. Consequently, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA’s limited resources to best accomplish the agency’s safety mission, the petition is denied. Please see the March 9, 2007 federal register notice for further details.
• TQ10-001; Opened February 4, 2010; Closed January 21, 2011; Unintended and Uncontrollable Acceleration Due to Interference Between the Accelerator Pedal and the Driver’s Side Floor Mat:
Upon further review of the defect information reports and the recalls, NHTSA requires additional information from Toyota to more fully understand and evaluate, among other things, when Toyota first learned of the possibility of an issue of floor mat interference with the accelerator pedals installed on its vehicles, the chronology of events leading up to Toyota’s defect decisions, Toyota’s responses to problems with floor mats and accelerator pedals and the timing of those responses, and the timeliness of Toyota’s submissions of its Part 573 reports. Accordingly, we have opened a Timeliness Query (TQ) to investigate these matters.
After review of Toyota’s submissions relating to the timeliness of the pedal entrapment safety recalls, NHTSA concluded it had a potential civil penalty claim against Toyota for violations of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, as amended, 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 (Safety Act) and its implementing regulations. Toyota denied its actions violated the Safety Act. However, in order to settle this matter, Toyota agreed to pay the statutory maximum civil penalty of $16,375,000.00.
• TQ10-002; Opened February 15, 2010; Closed August 23, 2010; Sticking Accelerator Pedals:
On January 21, 2010, Toyota filed a Defect Information Report and notified NHTSA that certain Toyota and Pontiac Vibe vehicles contained a safety defect in the accelerator pedal assembly that may cause the accelerator pedal to become harder to depress, slower to return, or in the worst case, mechanically stuck in a partially depressed position. NHTSA designated the recall concerning the Toyota vehicles 10V017, and the recall of the Pontiac Vibe vehicles, which NHTSA understands to be a product of New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. which had been a venture between Toyota and General Motors Corporation, 10V-018.
NHTSA reviewed Toyota’s submissions and, on April 5, 2010, sent a letter notifying Toyota’s counsel that the agency had tentatively concluded that Toyota was liable for civil penalties for violations of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, as amended, 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 (Safety Act) and its implementing regulations. A copy of that letter is in this investigation repository. NHTSA notified Toyota of this conclusion in its letter and demanded the statutory maximum civil penalty amount of $16,375,000. Toyota denied its actions were untimely and that it had violated the Safety Act or its implementing regulations, but agreed to pay the penalty in interests of avoiding a protracted dispute with the agency and possible litigation.