It doesn't take much does it? Just over a week after the NASA and NTSA reports came out absolving Toyota of any accelerator problems other than the known "sticky pedal" and floormat issue, Toyota's reputation is riding high again. Americans have changed their minds in the same way the wind changes direction and all is apparently forgiven. As I've mentioned on this blog before, the vast majority of unintended acceleration cases were down to the idiot drivers, which leads to an interesting problem. Reputation is everything and Toyota took a huge hit because of these people. Given that there never was a problem, doesn't it only seem right and fair that every driver who tagged along hoping for a claim payout, or claimed their Toyota had unintended acceleration, should now be forced to pay recompense to Toyota for wasting their time and damaging their reputation? More to the point, if they really can't tell the difference between the accelerator and the brake - two pedals that are radically different shapes and sizes and in different parts of the footwell - they really shouldn't be driving a car at all.
The worst part of all of this is that anyone who is even vaguely a petrolhead could have told you this this would be the ultimate outcome. We didn't need millions of dollars of research to tell us this. Why? Look back to 1985-86 when Audi suffered the same problem with the Audi 4000. Thousands of cases of unintended acceleration forced a massive recall and investigation that cost Audi dearly in sales and reputation. The end result? Stupid drivers who couldn't tell the difference between the accelerator and the brake.