When NASA engineers released a report that cleared Toyota of possible electronic flaws in its throttle control systems, the unexpected result was a boost to the carmakers image amongst the public.
When reports began appearing last year of unintended acceleration in some Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles, the carmaker took a beating both in the press and amongst the driving public’s long-held belief in the safety and quality of Toyota’s cars. The 10-month investigation by NASA engineers looking into the possible causes of the unintended acceleration found no electronic problems. What the engineers concluded was that floormat interference and sticky gas pedals caused the reported incidents of some vehicles to accelerate uncontrollably. The report also said that in many cases, drivers mistakenly took the accelerator for the brake.
YouGov/BrandIndex, a marketing firm that monitors the public’s perception of brands found the NASA report, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Transportation, boosted consumer confidence in Toyota’s brand. According to the company, the improvement’s to Toyota’s image “significantly outpaced” the aggregate auto sector as a whole.