Automotive News is reporting that documents submitted to the NHTSA have proven that Toyota knew about the accelerator safety defects since early 2006.
The documents suggest that Toyota first learned about the defect February 7th, 2006, and had evidence to support it five months later. The first report involved a 2005 Toyota Prius, in which the floor mat jammed the accelerator.
In their defense, Toyota says that they couldn’t duplicate the problem, and decided to “monitor the situation in the field.”
Other evidence suggesting that Toyota knew about this earlier includes more documents, which showed that Toyota knew about the issue since September 29, 2009 and prompted the NHTSA’s hefty $16.4 million fine, and an e-mail sent by former Toyota executive Irv Miller to his superiors which shows that Toyota may have known about the issues earlier.
Toyota has not responded to these allegations, but we’ll be contacting them for comment.