How real are Toyota’s defects?
Megan McArdle at the Atlantic has put together some interesting graphs showing that the Toyota’s acceleration issues seem to skew heavily towards the elderly. For all the press that this issue has gotten lately, wiping millions of dollars off the value of the Toyota brand, I’m surprised this is the first time I have seen a graphical representation of the actual complaints.
Many questions remain, for instance, how do these distributions compare to complaints of sudden acceleration in other automakers vehicles? It’s quite possible that the condition is more likely to cause an accident when the driver is elderly, and accidents are more likely to be reported than incidents the driver is able to handle by shifting to neutral and cutting the ignition.
This is what even the most rudimentary compilation of data does. It starts a conversation, provokes more questions to be asked, and brings us closer to the truth.