UPDATE 1-Toyota blames driver error for some unwanted speeding

* 2,000 cases not linked to electronic throttle system-Toyota

* Early U.S. govt test results blame driver error – WSJ

* Toyota shares up 4.6 pct, in line with other auto stocks
(Changes dateline, adds share reaction, market comments)

By Chang-Ran Kim and John Crawley

TOKYO/WASHINGTON, July 14 (BestGrowthStock) – Toyota Motor Corp
(7203.T: ) said on Wednesday its investigation of nearly 2,000
cases of unintended acceleration had found no problem with its
electronic throttle system, and that driver error was to blame in
some cases.

The world’s top automaker made the statement after a Wall
Street Journal report that early results of the U.S. government’s
analysis of dozens of data recorders from Toyota vehicles
suggested that some drivers were at fault in cases of sudden
acceleration.

Citing people familiar with the unreleased results of the
U.S. Department of Transportation’s tests, the paper said some
drivers who said their Toyotas or Lexuses surged out of control
might have pushed the accelerator when they meant to brake.

The Department of Transportation would not confirm the
report.

Toyota said the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) had not reported details of its findings
to Toyota. It said Toyota had also concluded that “pedal
misapplication” was shown to be the cause in some cases of
unwanted speeding.

Toyota has provided NHTSA with 10 event data recorders, and
four recorders to Canadian authorities, and all of its findings
from the 2,000 on-site inspections, Toyota spokesman Mike Michels
said.

NO CONCLUSION EXPECTED FOR MONTHS

U.S. regulators are investigating whether there are problems
with Toyota’s electronic throttles, and whether any glitches have
played a role in unintended acceleration complaints. As many as
89 crash deaths have been reported since 2000 as possibly being
linked to unintended acceleration in Toyota cars.

NHTSA has enlisted space agency experts to look at the
software-driven throttles. The safety agency will also tap the
expertise of an independent scientific panel, which is studying
the matter separately.

Conclusions are not expected for months.

In years of reviewing unintended acceleration in Toyota
vehicles, NHTSA has never found a link to electronic throttles.
Toyota maintains its throttles are sound and blames unintended
acceleration on floormats that can jam the accelerator pedal and
pedals that would not spring back as designed.

Those equipment and mechanical problems were behind the
worldwide recall of more than 8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles
in October 2009 and January 2010 for unintended acceleration.

Toyota faces a potential civil liability estimated at more
than $10 billion from lawsuits sparked by complaints of runaway
cars and trucks.

Shares in Toyota rose 4.6 percent on Wednesday morning in
Tokyo, in line with a strong rise in other Japanese auto stocks.

“It’s basically the weaker yen,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi,
chief equity marketing officer at Tokai Tokyo Securities.
“Exporters and other auto shares are all pretty strong on this.”

He added: “The Toyota issue is pretty much worn out as a
factor; it’s been priced in. This is especially true since some
of it may have been a kind of Japan-bashing taken up as a
political factor.”
(Additional reporting by Elaine Lies in TOKYO, Soyoung Kim in
DETROIT and Helen Chernikoff in NEW YORK; Editing by Michael
Watson)

UPDATE 1-Toyota blames driver error for some unwanted speeding