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Edmunds.com offers $1-million prize for Toyota fix

The auto information and pricing company is launching a public competition to find a solution to the carmaker's unintended-acceleration problem.

March 03, 2010|By Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Solve the unintended acceleration problem, win a million dollars.

Edmunds.com, the auto information and pricing company, is launching a public competition to find the cause of and solution to the problem that has allegedly caused dozens of auto accident deaths and devastated the reputation of Toyota Motor Corp.

You don't have to be an auto mechanic to enter.

"If there is only one person who can re-create unintended acceleration in a car and then solve that problem and prove the whole thing to us, then they'll get $1 million," Edmunds Chief Executive Jeremy Anwyl said.

Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles to fix sudden-acceleration problems, but Edmunds spokesman Chintan Talati said that Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, left doubts in his appearance before a congressional panel that the company had fully resolved the issue.

"He said himself that he's not 100% certain that this is the only fix or the only problem," Talati said. "So we don't know the problem is really fixed, and that's what this contest is about."

Anwyl denied the prize was a publicity stunt.

"We're not looking to keep any information or technology ourselves," he said. "Anything discovered in the competition will be open and out there, and hopefully this all works, because it could save lives."

Details of the competition, which will begin next month, are still being worked out.

"There might be one answer; there might be many answers," Anwyl said. "But if there are three people who can do it, then the money will be split three ways.

"We can't give everyone a million dollars."

nathan.olivarezgiles @latimes.com

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