Priusgate Heats up when Toyota Explains the Facts of Mr Spike's Runaway Prius [with Video]

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By now everyone's heard about the shady dealings of runaway-Toyota driver James Sikes, and the allegations that somehow, instead of legitimate Toyota failings, what was really occurring with his 2008 Prius was a case of fraud.

Obviously, considering that this horror (or stunt) was filmed on live television, Toyota needed to get personally involved with Sikes and his claims. After stating that Sikes' story and what the car's computer recorded didn't add up, they made sure to fully disclose what, precisely, they checked.

Here's what they found:

"• The accelerator pedal was tested and found to be working normally with no mechanical binding or friction. It should be noted that the Prius is not subject to a recall for sticking accelerator pedals and the Prius component is made by a different supplier than the one recalled.

• The front brakes showed severe wear and damage from overheating. The rear brakes and parking brake were in good condition and functional.

• A Toyota carpeted floor mat of the correct type for the vehicle was installed but not secured to the retention hooks. It was not found to be interfering or even touching the accelerator pedal.

• The pushbutton power switch worked normally and shut the vehicle off when depressed for 3 seconds as the 911 operator advised Mr. Sikes to do.

• The shift lever also worked normally and neutral could be selected. The neutral position is clearly marked and can be easily engaged by moving the lever left to the "N" marking.

• There were no diagnostic trouble codes found in the power management computer, nor was the dashboard malfunction indicator light activated. The hybrid self-diagnostic system did show evidence of numerous, rapidly repeated on-and- off applications of both the accelerator and the brake pedals.

• After examination of individual components, the front brakes were replaced and the vehicle was test driven, during which the vehicle was observed to be functioning normally.

• During testing, the brakes were purposely abused by continuous light application in order to overheat them. The vehicle could be safely stopped by means of the brake pedal, even when overheated."

With everything supposedly being kosher, Toyota goes on to say that maybe it's Mr. Sikes who needs to be under investigation. Now, before anyone screams, "Of course they're going to say it's all working correctly!", here's the disclaimer they tacked onto the end of the press release:

"NHTSA investigators were present during Toyota's examination, and are conducting their own investigation of the vehicle and its performance. Toyota's examination was also observed by a congressional staff member."

Automotive News reports that Toyota's system checks indicate "the car was being driven with the brakes lightly and repeatedly applied -- some 250 times over a 30-mile stretch of highway." Toyota goes on to explain that "[Our] engineers believe that it would be extremely difficult for the Prius to be driven at a continuous high speed with more than light brake-pedal pressure."

Maybe this Mr. Sikes (if that is indeed his real name) is in trouble.

- By Phil Alex