After Toyota recently debunked an ABC News report about sudden acceleration in its vehicles, the Japanese automaker has now decided to take on CNN, after the news outlet reported that Toyota knew about sudden acceleration issues as far back as 2002.
The story by CNN's special investigations unit reports that in a secret document Toyota admitted to electronic issues related to the throttle, even saying that in 2002, "Toyota had a sudden acceleration problem and that according to Toyota's own technical service bulletin, the problem was electronic."
Toyota has responded, essentially debunking the document and exposing CNN's faulty reporting; the "secret document" being a 2002 Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) published by Toyota and sent to all of its dealers as well as being publicly available online through several government and independent websites as well as through Toyota's own site: https://techinfo.toyota.com. In fact, the 2002 TSB was discussed by Toyota Motor Sales USA President Jim Lentz during his appearance before the Congressional testimony looking into Toyota's recall woes.
As for the content of the TSB, Toyota says that the issue was never sudden acceleration but rather, "a drivability issue at speeds of between 38 and 42 miles per hour at light throttle." the TSB continues, "This condition was strictly related to a function internal to the transmission torque converter under certain throttle conditions. It manifested as a slight rocking motion, or surge, while holding steady throttle at the specific speed window. This issue was in no way related to any kind of sustained acceleration."
Toyota contests the misinterpretation of the word "surge" in the document, which is says has been taken out of context. Toyota's statement says that, "The term surge has been used across the industry for many years to describe a condition where there is a very slight slow-down and speed-up perception (typically two miles per hour or less) while holding steady throttle at low to moderate speeds." Toyota also says almost every other automaker has issued a similar TSB, with 80 such TSBs being published in the last 10 years.
It would appear as though CNN has now followed after ABC News, with horribly poor investigative journalism that puts ratings ahead of integrity, research and fact checking.
More: CNN Erroneously Reports Secret Document Shows Toyota Knew of Sudden Acceleration in 2002 on AutoGuide.com