A total of 432 customers have reported unintended or sudden acceleration in their vehicles, resulting in 51 crashes and 12 injuries. Toyota has responded by stating that its Tacoma is not defective and that many reports were "inspired by publicity," reports the Detroit Free Press.
Federal regulators are still considering whether to upgrade the NHTSA investigation launched in February, which currently covers more than 775,000 Tacomas sold between the 2004 and 2008 model years. A new investigation could force Toyota to issue an expensive recall for the Tacoma, and raise questions about sudden-acceleration claims that both safety regulators and carmakers have blamed on driver error for years.
Unlike most of its rivals, which haven’t experienced substantial sudden-acceleration complaints, the Tacoma relies on an electronic drive-by-wire system pedal system that uses computer controls instead of a direct physical connection between the accelerator pedal and the throttle. Toyota says its system is designed to report an error in case the accelerator pedal and throttle are mismatched and that initial testing conducted by both the carmaker and the NHTSA have revealed no problems.