Jim Lentz is testifying before the House Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee as we speak.
Waxman just played a statement saying Lentz made saying they were confident they had solved the unintended accleration problem. He then asked Lentz if he still stood by his statement. Lentz said yes, as he defines sudden unintended acceleration. But then he defined “unintended acceleration” as when a driver takes her foot OFF the accelerator and the car doesn’t decelerate. Totally different thing.
Waxman: Exponent’s exam has been criticized. You have something more from Japan that you haven’t given us?
Lentz: They are confident the testing has been done in Japan.
Now Michael Burggess is trying to help out Lentz by asking what NHTSA has found. Of course, Waxman has already revealed that NHTSA has no one with the electronic or software expertise to test such things.
Even though last panel said Toyota had been able to replicate what auto tech prof, David Gilbert, had found, Lentz claims Toyota hasn’t been able to replicate it.
Also, in the last panel, Rep Steve Buyer tried to claim that the safety and tech experts had been bought off by trial lawyers. But the prof in question has been paid $1800 thus far, and received $4000 in equipment. Meanwhile, Lentz just testified that Exponent, the sham consulting firm that is doing their study (with just 6 cars), has no limit on billable hours.
Lentz then admitted they’ve been testing this in Japan (though he didn’t admit that they haven’t given this paperwork to Congress). Testing that we’ve done in Japan, we continue to test the ETCS in Japan, as well as what Exponent is doing.
Lentz also announced that Toyota will expand its brake overrides installed to seven cars. Tacoma, Venza and Sequoia are being added; Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES 350, IS 350 and IS 250. He said the others are not technically feasible. He later said that for these seven models, they could just reflash the chip (which is a 15- to 30-minute fix). Apparently, the others are no able to be reflashed. Note, too, those are generally the cheaper cars. So basically Toyota is deciding that for these cheaper cars and trucks (though also the Tundra!), they’re unwilling to pay to pull out the chip and replace it.
Stupak is pointing out that Toyota is not fixing 70% of the case. Says Lentz is defining “sudden acceleration as Toyota wants to define it.”
Lentz just said there is “pedal misapplication.”
Stupak: Do you have any analysis that sticky pedals can cause sudden unintended acceleration.”
Lentz redefines it again, Stupak then quotes Toyota’s lawyer saying differently.
Stupak: “70% we don’t have an answer for, is that fair to say?”
Lentz: “That’s fair to say.”
Lentz “There’s the possibility through mechanical, or human, or some other type of problem” Like maybe electronic?!?!? Or software?!?!?!
Toyota defect and recall decisions have been made in Japan in past.
Credit to Joe Barton (who was his typical horses ass in the last panel): He’s kicking Lentz’ ass. Barton: “You probably can solve this problem if you really try to.”
Barton: I have confidence in your engineering department you can solve this if your legal department will let them solve it.
Dingell now asking a bunch of qusetions Lentz can’t answer.After each, says, “Please submit that for the record.”
Now some answers: Japan was responsible for recalls before now.
Dingell asks Lentz whether he thinks Govt ownership of GM has made them treat Toyota unfairly. Letnz says no, govt has treated Toyota fairly.
Dingell asks whether Toyota has studied electromagnetic interference.
Lentz: Exponent has not tested electromagnetic yet.
Dingelll: How many models did Exponent test?
Lentz: if you look at ETCS system, system is very similar. Throttle may be different size.
Dingell: I’m just a poor Polish lawyer from Detroit. Can you answer yes or no.
What percentage have EDRs.
Lentz asks to look at his notes. Dingell says, please submit that for the record. Lentz winces.
Dingell is getting at the one prototype tool that Toyota has to test EDRs.
Dingell: Are you responsible for these matters? You don’t seem to have the answers that I am questing. Asks about manufacturing and safety.
Lentz: Not responsible for manufacturing, defect decisions made in Japan.
Lentz says of Toyota manufacturing employees sitting behind him that they are hard-working Americans. (Bobby Rush commends him on their diversity. Which means they served their PR purpose.)
Markey says it’s not acceptable that Toyota was not sharing defect problems across nations.
Lentz: “ETCS has bene looked at in the past as they develop the product.” Suggesting they haven’t done studies since?
Lentz: We are confident it’s not an electronic problem.
Markey: But you are only at the beginning of the process.
Lentz: Not first time we looked at ETCS, first time Exponent has looked at it.
DeGette: Not first time you looked at ECTS. You provided a lot of documents, Has Toyota provided all docs?
Lentz: I can’t say whether it’s a test or the development cycle.
DeGette: Have we recieved all the documents about testing.I know Buyer would want to ask you: How much money to Exponent to produce that report. Over $1800?
Lentz: Unlimited budget.
DeGette: Exponent report an interim report, still conducting tests.
Lentz: Going to make that public.
DeGette: My understanding that Hester, sitting right behind you, Toyota had replicated Gilbert’s test. Reproduce same conditions w/o triggering error code. In wee hours last night.
Lentz: I an relying on engineering people in Japan, who told me they have tested it extensively.
DeGette, In light of Hester’s report, do you want to change your testimony.
Lentz: We will provide that. I don’t know exactly how Gilbert has done this.
DeGette: You agree with Gilbert?
Lentz: Real world. Exponent was able to do on competitors vehicle. [In the wee hours of last night? Really? Interesting set of priorities, there, Toyota.]
Doyle: What’s the downside to testing what this gentleman has done?
Lentz: Not sure of his testing paradigm.My understanding is they were splicing wires together.
Oh for fucks sake. Lentz boasting about house calls his Dad gets. Ya think Dealer might be trying to schmooze Toyota marketing and sales?
Betty Sutton: When you say “we” are willing to take info from anyone with suggestions, who is the “we”? Asks about making safety.
Lentz: I am involved in quality from an antenna standpoint. [But everything gets sent to Japan]
Sutton: Who does the safety person who reports to NHTSA?
Lentz: Toyota Motor America.
Sutton: He’s responsible for safety decision in US?
Lentz: No, that’s made in Japan.
Sutton: So why are you here?
Committee invited him.
Schakowsky: Are you really saying no one in US knew about recall in Canada? Strains credulity. It’s really hard to imagine, that whether or not it was deliberately shared or not. Many Americans can see Canada from their house.
Bruce Braley suggests that Toyota had big financial ties to Accenture. Now looking for financial relationship with Exponent. Hopefully that means they’ll get a contract.
Buyer: USG went to Exponent to help us solve Space Shuttle Columbia.
Yeah, that’s a great example.
Lentz says they might be the independent review group. WOW. That would be a mistake.
Lentz now describing what Gilbert did. But he doesn’t get that what Gilbert showed is that there’s an error code failure. That’s not what Exponent did test.
Buyer just suggested that Exponent was testing thousands of vehicles. No. They’re testing 6.
Gonzales trying to make the hearing moral “Everyone is going to keep driving their Toyotas.” Based on President (who gets free Toyotas) saying he’ll keep driving Toyotas.
Rep McInerny complaining about Toyota shutting NUMMI factory in CA. It was GM abandoning NUMMI that was shutting this down. Lentz really should have said it wasn’t his job–sales–bc he’s playing into McInerny’s efforts to piggyback on Toyota’s bad PR.
Now Lentz boasting that workers didn’t laid off in downturn of 2008. Which is what UAW always gets beat up for–keeping workers on.
Stupak: Only independent analysis you have is Exponent.
Stupak: No independent ECS studies. W/Gilbert here, he’s come up with
Lentz keeps misstating what Gilbert did. He can’t really be this stupid about cars. I understand this stuff, and haven’t worked in the industry for my entire lifetime.
Now Stupak is naming a bunch of cars whose black boxes have disappeared. Asking where the results are.Including one person who asked Toyota for information off black box. It has been denied.
Stupak: NHTSA introduced standards in 2006 and you’re still developing a prototype? This information still needs to go to Japan?
Stupak: Where is the data from the black boxes stored? In Japan?
Lentz is filbustering
Toyota President: “We’ve stubbed our toe.”
Lentz admits that Exponent has not tested software yet.
(Ah it took a while to get that out, huh?)
LaHood will start testifying at 5:30.