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A row of brand new Toyota Prius hybrids sit on the sales lot at City Toyota on Feb. 3, 2010, in Daly City, Calif.

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Toyota Motor Corp. plans Monday to try to undercut suggestions that its electronics systems caused the sudden acceleration problems that led to the recall of more than 8 million vehicles.

Unsung Cruise

The automaker plans an event in which it will seek to debunk a critic who claims faulty gas pedals did not cause the sudden acceleration.

Toyota will aim to duplicate the scenario created by David W. Gilbert, a professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Gilbert told Congress on Feb. 23 that he was able to recreate sudden acceleration in a Toyota vehicle by manipulating its electronics.

The company is calling in the director of Stanford University’s Center for Automotive Research to try to refute the claims. Toyota said Stanford professor Chris Gerdes will show that the malfunctions Gilbert produced “are completely unrealistic under real-world conditions and can easily be reproduced on a wide range of vehicles made by other manufacturers.”

Stanford’s Center for Automotive Research is funded by a group of auto companies, including Toyota.

Toyota also has hired a consulting firm to study whether electronic problems could cause unintended acceleration. The firm, Exponent Inc., released an interim report that has found no link between the two.

The event planned Monday is part of a broad campaign by the world’s biggest automaker to discredit critics, repair its damaged reputation and begin restoring trust in its vehicles.

On Friday, a congressional committee questioned Toyota’s efforts to find the causes of the problems. It also questioned whether the company had sufficiently investigated the issue of electronic defects.

Toyota executives will also address recall issues at its annual suppliers meeting in Kentucky on Tuesday.

source:wjz13

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