A Near Death Experience.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has purchased the 2007 Lexus ES 350 previously owned by Rhonda and Eddie Smith, who testified last week before a Congressional committee about their unintended acceleration experience. NHTSA intends to thoroughly study the vehicle at their vehicle research and test center in East Liberty, Ohio, to try to figure out the possible causes of sudden acceleration.
The vehicle was sold by the Smith’s after the incident when it only had 3,000 miles on it. NHTSA purchased it from the second owner of the car with approximately 30,000 miles for $42,500. (A new ES 350 starts at $35,175, so that price would cover the cost of a well-optioned replacement, plus taxes.) The former owners of the Lexus had not experienced sudden unintended acceleration during their time with the vehicle.
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The Smiths both testified last week at the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Rhonda discussed her experience behind the wheel of the Lexus as it suddenly accelerated out of control for six miles in the fall of 2006. The vehicle reached a top speed of 100 miles per hour, then miraculously slowed down. The local dealer could not find out the problem, but after the harrowing experience, the Smiths decided to sell the vehicle, which has been trouble free ever since.
The Lexus became part of the initial recall back in 2007 of 2007 and early 2008 Toyota Camry and Lexus ES 350 vehicles due to floor mats that could get stuck under the accelerator pedal. An investigation summary by NHTSA determined the cause was the floor mats, if they are not secured properly. Smith testified that there was nothing unusual about the floor mats.
[Source – Consumerreports Blog]