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Published on Mar 18, 2010
In 1986, 60 minutes did a story on Audi after a woman had pinned her 6 year old son between the front of her car and the garage door. The boy was fatally injured. It was unclear why she had started the car and put it into gear before her children were inside and buckled in. It was (much later) found that she had accidentally given the car full throttle while she thought she was on the brake. NHTSA and Audi performed several investigations, and the cars were never found to be at fault. It was even found that the car demonstrated on 60 minutes had been modified to malfunction on camera. Audi's reputation was severely damaged. In 1985, Audi had sold 75,000 cars in North America. By 1991, the number had dwindled down to less than 12,000. Audi considered pulling out of the American car market completely, and their numbers didn't recover until 1994. It should be noted that the Audi 5000 was made from 1978 to 1988 with hundreds of thousands sold worldwide, and only units sold in America were ever reported for unintended acceleration.