Toyota Casts Doubt On 'Runaway' Prius Claim Toyota has responded to the latest developments in last week's runaway Prius investigation in San Diego. Federal inspectors say they can't duplicate the acceleration problem the driver reported after his car raced down the freeway at more than 90 miles an hour. Toyota stopped short of calling it a hoax.
NPR logo

Toyota Casts Doubt On 'Runaway' Prius Claim

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/124722980/124722963" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Toyota Casts Doubt On 'Runaway' Prius Claim

Toyota Casts Doubt On 'Runaway' Prius Claim

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/124722980/124722963" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And Toyota is disputing claims made by a man here in California, who says his Prius accelerated out of control on a San Diego freeway. Toyota stopped short of calling last week's incident a hoax. But as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, the company did fiercely defend its car.

CARRIE KAHN: At a press conference, Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said the carmaker's engineers thoroughly examined the Prius driven by James Sikes and found it to be working perfectly.

Mr. MIKE MICHELS (Spokesman, Toyota): Toyota believes there are significant inconsistencies between the account of the event of March 8th and the findings of this investigation.

KAHN: Last week, Sikes called 911 to say his car was speeding out of control. With the help of a highway patrol officer, he was able to stop the vehicle.

Toyota says during the 24-minute incident, Sikes never tried to put the car in neutral or turn off the ignition. Michels says if the gas pedal had been stuck as Sikes claimed, the car safety system would've immediately shut down the engine as soon as he stepped on the brake. Michels says that's what happened when Toyota investigators tested the car.

Mr. MICHELS: To say this incident was sensationalized would be an enormous understatement. Jumping to conclusions is dangerous, and investigations should be allowed to take their course.

KAHN: Federal regulators also said its investigators could not replicate the incident as described by Sikes. An attorney for Sikes says he will not comment until federal safety officials conclude their investigation.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.