WASHINGTON - Documents reviewed by Congress appear to show that Toyota Motor Corp consistently dismissed the possibility that electronic failures could be responsible for incidents of unintended acceleration, two senior lawmakers investigating the matter said on Monday.
U.S. representatives Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak, chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the panel's investigative subcommittee, respectively, also said in letters to Toyota and U.S. regulators that the automaker's public statements about the adequacy of its recent recalls appear to be misleading.
The lawmakers said the findings stem from a preliminary review of documents provided to the committee by Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In addition, the pair said NHTSA lacked the expertise to evaluate electronic throttle systems, and its response to complaints about unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles appears to have been seriously deficient.
Transportation officials had no immediate comment.
The Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday holds the first of two hearings this week into major recalls of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Members will question Toyota and U.S. officials. (Reporting by John Crawley)