Unintended Acceleration

Maybe I should consider myself lucky. Or maybe I should trade in my 2001 VW. Following on the Toyota bruhaha, NPR pulled and analyzed 15 years worth of acceleration complaints. The results are truly frightening. I wonder how many lives could have been saved if the traffic safety folks had conducted their own investigations and acted on the results over the years.

Even though the news was all about Toyota, the complaints were not. Worse, the number complaints per 100,000 vehicles put Toyota well behind VW-Audi and other makes over the years. VW does not come off well in any year back to 2001, but I’ve never heard a word about the problem from the dealer.

Of course Toyota sold more cars in the United States in 2009, but there were 11.5 per 100,000 complaints for VW vs. 7.5 percent for Toyota.

The results for 2008 came in even more discouraging: 21.6 for VW, with 6.8 for Toyota and 6.3 for BMW.

I don’t know what happened with 2007 models, but Suzuki beat absolutely everyone with 27.4, though Jag came in a startling second at 24.3 with 15.2 for third-place Toyota. VW did something right that year, coming a lowly fourth at 8.0.

Suzuki hit another percentage high in 2006 with Jag a close, close second. But VW was right up there in third place.

Toyota eked out first place from Mazda in 2005, and Hyundai beat VW for third.

Jag gave everyone a big surprise in 2004, followed by Suzuki and then Land Rover.

Land Rover hit an astonishing 41 in 2003 with fellow Brit Jag a close-ish second and Saab at No. 3.

All numbers were low in 2002, with Subaru taking the lead at 21.7, followed by Jag and Suzuki.

I hope someone takes this information and makes all auto manufacturers figure out what’s wrong and then makes them fix the problem before we have any more deaths or injuries.


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