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Toyota's Problems Go Beyond Just Pesky Floor Mats

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Toyota, the world’s larget automaker by sales volume, is facing growing criticism concerning the safety of its vehicles. Over the next few days I will examine some of the things Toyota might not want you to hear about during the push for year-end sales of its sleek looking vehicles.

As I reported back in September, consumers were given some heads up on possible safety concerns when Toyota ordered all of its dealers to check their floor mats after a horrific accident in California took the lives of four people. As InjuryBoard News Desk writer Jane Akre noted, this led to the recall of 3.8 Million floor mats.

However, it turns out that the floor mat issue may be just a symptom of a larger problem with Toyota made vehicles. According to an analysis of complaints logged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Toyota and Lexus 2008 model vehicles have more complaints for sudden acceleration problems than Chrysler, GM, Honda, and Nissan combined. The New York Times recently commented on a Consumer Reports study of the complaints, where they calculated that 41 percent of all acceleration complaints for 2008 vehicles were for Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The Consumer Reports inquiry was clear on one thing, in many of these complaints the floor mat was not to blame, instead “There was something else, outside of the cabin, that was causing the problem,” said Jeff Bartlett of Consumer Reports.

The Los Angeles Times has previously reported an increase in deaths from Toyota vehicles involving sudden acceleration since Toyota introduced their 2002 models. That was the year the automaker began replacing mechanical throttle systems with electrical throttle systems.