Lexus driver experiences acceleration problems

March 10, 2010 6:16:16 PM PST
The first report of a Lexus, made by Toyota, that had a sudden acceleration problem has surfaced. The driver is afraid to get back in the car and her complaint is being investigated.

It is so far the only complaint made to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration involving the Lexus LS 430. It was filed by Marion Busick of Los Altos Hills.

Just over a week ago, Busick was on Highway 156 near Hollister. She says she slowed down as she was preparing to turn right at an intersection, that's when her Lexus suddenly accelerated.

"The car was down to 10, 15 miles an hour and suddenly it just lurched forward, accelerated very rapidly," she said.

Busick owns a 2003 Lexus LS 430, and assured ABC7 News that when this happened, she applied the brakes, shifted into park and shut down the engine. But nothing she did to try to stop the car worked.

"And I know that I didn't have my foot on the accelerator. Common sense tells you that when you are coming up to a red light, you aren't going to be accelerating. No, I'm positive that is what happened," she said.

She says the dealer, Lexus of Stevens Creek, kept the car for two days.

In an e-mail to ABC7 News that dealership said they were unable to duplicate the concerns expressed by Mrs. Busick on the repair order and that all systems were operating properly.

Busick has filed a complaint with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

So far it's the only one filed against a 2003 Lexus LS430, and there have only been a few sudden acceleration complaints on other Lexus models built that year.

The ES300 has had four and the Lexus GS300 one.

"This was going to be our car for the rest of our lives," Busick said.

Busick's claims are remarkably similar to Rhonda Smith's of Tennessee. She testified before Congress in late February.

Smith described how her 2006 Lexus accelerated out of control and just like Busick, the car would not stop no matter how hard she braked or what gear she shifted into. Like Busick, the car finally slowed down on its own.

Consumer Reports auto editor Jeff Barlett acknowledges there is a lot of confusion among Toyota owners.

"We have accusations, we have testing that has not been yet completed. But really at the end of the day, we have known that Toyota is putting tremendous resources at trying to find out if there is any other problems. If there is, they will work aggressively to address them," he said.

"Right now we have a perfectly good car that we don't know what's wrong, they don't know what's wrong and we won't drive it. We are afraid to drive it," Busick said.

Right now there is an open investigation into all complaints involving Toyota and all their cars, including this one. But so far, this specific year and model is not part of any recall related to sudden acceleration.


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