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Friday, March 05, 2010

Unintended Acceleration Round 3: NPR Does The Math

NPR posted a nice widget on their web site, here, where you can check the statistics on unintended acceleration complaints.  Most importantly, the data is normalized, so you can see which carmakers are having more complaints than their market share and which are getting less.   

Here is a snapshot for 2009. Notice that the worst three carmakers, in terms of complaints per 100,000 vehicles, are Toytoa, VW, and BMW.  Also notice that VW/Audi is more over-represented even than Toyota is!

model year 2009

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified 251 complaints alleging sudden acceleration and related problems for vehicles in model year 2009. A breakdown by vehicle make follows.

Vehicle make Complaints Market share Share of complaints Sales Complaints per 100,000 veh.
TOYOTA-LEXUS 133 16.7% 53.0% 1,773,609 7.5
VOLKSWAGEN-AUDI 34 2.8% 13.6% 295,778 11.5
FORD 17 15.3% 6.8% 1,620,949 1.1
BMW 14 2.3% 5.6% 241,711 5.8
HONDA-ACURA 14 10.9% 5.6% 1,151,309 1.2
GM 9 19.6% 3.6% 2,075,748 0.4
NISSAN 7 7.3% 2.8% 770,719 0.9
CHRYSLER 5 8.8% 2.0% 931,860 0.5
SUBARU 4 2.0% 1.6% 216,268 1.9
HYUNDAI 3 4.1% 1.2% 434,656 0.7
MAZDA 2 2.0% 0.8% 207,787 1.0
VOLVO 1 0.6% 0.4% 61,488 1.6
KIA 1 2.8% 0.4% 300,019 0.3

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Veil of secrecy covers Toyota cars’ ‘black boxes’

Last week, Toyota acknowledged it has only a single laptop available in the U.S. to download its data recorder information because it is still a prototype, despite being in use since 2001 in Toyota vehicles.

http://tinyurl.com/ycav74s

Ming said...

It's interesting to see the trend of overall SUA complaints over the past decade:


2000: 1415

2001: 1345

2002: 1460

2003: 1446

2004: 1426

2005: 1112

2006: 878

2007: 876

2008: 456

2009: 251 (1994 had 254 total SUA complaints)

It seems that the complaints have been staying steady from 2000 to 2004, and starting 2005 the SUA complaints started to drop and hit a 10-year low of 251 in the year 2009.

This is quite interesting since this is the same level of total SUA complaints as recorded in 1994. So the qeustion becomes what caused the dramatic drop in SUA complaints?

A lot of people are arguing over how the cause is modern electronic wizardry in cars and that the "good ol" mechanic linkage has been lost and hence the increase in SUA due to uncontrollable ECUs running out of control.

But then how does this explain the similar level of SUA complaints in 2009 vs 1994? I'm no expert but I'm not sure how many cars had drive by wire throttle and complex ECU management of cruise control and whatnot in 1994 cars vs 2009 cars; certainly should be much less.

The Auto Prophet said...

Ming,

Well stated. In fact, I think I might make this its own post...