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Toyota Examines Repaired Cars, Rebuts Professor's Testing

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Earlier this week, a handful of complaints — the number is now up to around 60 — were filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about cars already repaired under the two major Toyota recalls. This brought up a new slew of questions regarding the company’s fixes and its throttle control system.

Toyota announced Thursday that it followed up with a number of the cars it could track down from the verified complaints and thoroughly tested them. The company’s findings have been forwarded to NHTSA for review, but no word has been released yet from the government. Toyota said it found no defects with the repairs or the electronic throttle control.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Toyota’s outside research firm Exponent had re-created the unintended acceleration test conducted by David Gilbert, the professor from Southern Illinois University who testified in front of Congress last week. It said the test had the same effect on other manufacturers’ vehicles and that it had to cut into two separate insulated wires. Exponent tested five vehicles, including a Honda Accord and BMW 325i.

It was reported that Gilbert may meet with the research group to review the tests. It was not reported if the other vehicles did not return an error code, like the Toyota that Gilbert had tested.

Gawker.com is also reporting that ABC News confirmed to them that footage in a news report showing Gilbert’s test-car being driven by reporter Brian Ross was altered. Footage of the tachometer revving while driven was replaced by a shot of it revving while parked, because the driving shot was too blurry. ABC says this doesn’t change the fact that a similar acceleration occurred, but Gawker says it was done to “make it look scarier.”

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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