Posts Tagged ‘James Lentz

08
Jul
10

Toyota Recalling 138,874 Lexus Vehicles

NEWS
Toyota Recalling 138,874 Lexus Vehicles

Thursday, July 8, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp on Tuesday filed a recall of 138,874 luxury Lexus vehicles sold in the United States to fix faulty engines in the latest quality problem to afflict the world’s No. 1 automaker. The move follows a recall of over 90,000 Lexus and other vehicles in Japan over the same problem, which was filed with the Japanese transport ministry on Monday.

The Japanese automaker said flaws in valve springs, a crucial engine component, could make the vehicle stall while in motion. Toyota confirmed in a statement it plans to file paperwork with the government on the recall next week.

The recall affects certain GS, IS and LS vehicles from the 2006-2008 model years powered by 4.6 and 5.0 liter V8 engines and 3.5 liter V6 engines. No accidents or injuries have been reported. Vehicles from the 2009 and 2010 model years are not affected.

Toyota had announced in Japan that it would recall 270,000 Lexus vehicles around the world to address the engine stalling problems. The global recall affects seven luxury Lexus sedan models as well as the popular Crown sedan, sold primarily in Japan. Of the 270,000 recalled cars, some 180,000 were sold overseas, including the United States, and 90,000 in Japan.

The company has received about 200 complaints in Japan but no accidents were reported there or abroad, said Toyota spokesman Hideaki Homma. Some drivers told Toyota that engines made a strange noise.

The automaker was already scrambling to repair its reputation after 8.5 million vehicles were recalled beginning in October because of problems with sticking accelerator pedals and other issues. Toyota was slapped with a record $16.4 million fine in the United States for acting too slowly to recall vehicles with defects.

Japan’s major daily Asahi said Friday the latest recall of 270,000 vehicles could cost Toyota around $227 million. Toyota could not confirm the report, which gave no sources.

Subject to the recall in the United States, filed with the Department of Transportation, are 2006-2008 Lexus models, including the top-of-the-line LS460 sedan, IS350, GS460, GS450h and the LS600hL models. Toyota plans to recall 270,000 vehicles worldwide due to the defective engine valve springs.

Toyota said owners will be notified of the recall by mail and dealers will repair the engine’s valve springs at no charge. The company said owners can continue to drive their vehicles. If they notice vibration, unusual engine sounds or rough idling, they should bring the car to a dealer for service.

Lexus general manager Mark Templin told dealers in an e-mail that “we understand the frustration and embarrassment these recalls cause and appreciate your reassuring Lexus owners that there is nothing more important to us than their safety, satisfaction with our products and confidence in you and the brand.”

Toyota dealers have repaired millions of vehicles following the massive global recalls, but the automaker still faces more than 200 lawsuits tied to accidents, the lower resale value of Toyota vehicles, and the drop in the company’s stock.

Toyota said last week it will recall 17,000 Lexus luxury hybrids after testing showed that fuel can spill during a rear-end crash.

U.S. regulators were working with scientists from NASA to investigate what caused some of Toyota’s vehicles to suddenly accelerate. That review is expected to be completed by late August.

Officials were also investigating whether Toyota waited nearly a year in 2005 to recall trucks and SUVs in the U.S. with defective steering rods, a case that could lead to additional fines.

Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact their local Lexus dealer or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.
• Customers who have any further questions are asked to visit www.lexus.ca or contact Lexus Canada at 1-800-265-3987.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corporation
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25
Jun
10

Toyota recalls Lexus HS250h hybrid for fuel spills

NEWS
Toyota recalls Lexus HS250h hybrid for fuel spills

Friday, June 25, 2010

••• Toyota said on Friday it will recall 17,000 Lexus luxury hybrids after testing showed that fuel can spill during a rear end crash.

The Japanese automaker said tests conducted for the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration found that fuel leaked during a rear impact crash at 50 miles per hour on a 2010 HS250h sedan. The test, conducted by a NHTSA contractor, showed that fuel spilled as the vehicle spun around after impact. (NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V285000)

Toyota’s own testing has not shown any spillage, but a spokesman said the company plans to issue a voluntary recall as it continues to try to replicate the government’s results. It is notifying dealers to stop selling the car.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has attempted to rebound from a series of recalls tied to reports of unintended acceleration and other defects. The U.S. administration penalized Toyota with a record $16.4 million fine for acting too slowly on the recalls.

Dealers have repaired millions of vehicles, but the auto giant faces more than 200 lawsuits connected to accidents and the lower resale value of vehicles.

Earlier this week, Toyota Motor Corp president Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the automaker’s founder, apologized to shareholders for the trouble caused by the recalls. He said the company was doing its best to improve quality control.

Toyota said it has not identified a fix for the reported problems of fuel spillage.

Detailed information about this recall is available through Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
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11
May
10

Toyota logs $1.60 billion 2009 profit despite recall woes

NEWS
Toyota logs $1.60 billion 2009 profit despite recall woes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

••• Despite massive recalls that dented its safety image, Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it logged a $1.60 billion group operating profit for the business year that ended in March, reversing the $4.99 billion loss recorded a year earlier.

It posted $2.27 billion in group net profit, compared with a loss of $4.73 billion in the 2008 business year, when the global financial crisis hit and car sales in the United States and Europe tanked. Group sales slipped 7.7 percent to $205.56 billion from $221.79 billion.

The steep rebound in profit – the first in two years – comes mostly as a result of cost-cutting efforts.

The safety woes mainly affected sales in the United States and Europe, but incentives in some regions helped shore up sales, limiting the fall in revenue.

“It was a year of being constantly on alert due to the series of recall matters, which caused concerns,” President Akio Toyoda said. “The severe conditions will likely continue, but I believe there is light far away amid the storm.”

Toyota now expects profits to grow in the current business year to next March. It forecasts a $3.03 billion group operating profit and $3.35 billion net profit on $205.56 billion in sales.

The company said it will focus on next-generation environmentally friendly cars by improving technology for hybrids and expanding its lineup. Also, it will gear up sales in fast-growing economies, particularly China and India.

Profit for the last business year mainly came from production cost cuts amounting to $5.63 billion, as well as $5.08 billion worth of reductions in fixed daily costs, including for labor, research and development, the company said.

Toyota said costs linked to its spate of worldwide recalls – $1.84 billion to $1.95 billion for the business year – were within expectations.

But concerns about potential massive recalls over accelerator defects continue.

The earnings results came a day after U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hinted at a news conference at Toyota’s headquarters in Aichi Prefecture that more fines could be imposed if needed.

Last month, Toyota agreed to pay a record $16.4 million U.S. government fine for delaying a January recall over defective accelerator pedals.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement issued Monday in Washington that it has opened an investigation into whether Toyota in 2005 notified the agency of a steering relay rod safety defect within five business days of learning of the defect’s existence, as required by law.

“We will fully cooperate with the investigation,” Toyoda said at the news conference.
• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corp.
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28
Apr
10

Toyota Recalls 50,000 Sequoia SUVs

NEWS
Toyota Recalls 50,000 Sequoia SUVs

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp will recall about 50,000 2003-year Sequoia sport utility vehicles in the United States and Canada to fix a problem in their vehicle stability control system, the company’s U.S. sales unit said Wednesday. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. said the recall will be conducted to adjust the VSC system, which is designed to control a loss of traction in turns as a result of front or rear tire slippage during cornering.

Without the adjustment, the VSC system could activate at low speed for a few seconds after acceleration from a stopped position, Toyota said. As a result, the vehicle may not accelerate as quickly as the driver expects, the company said, adding there have been no reported injuries or accidents as a result of this condition.

Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
» See: Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall on 2003 Model-Year Sequoia to Upgrade Program Logic in Vehicle Stability Control System

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24
Apr
10

Recalls? Toyota Still Showing Profit

NEWS
Recalls? Toyota Still Showing Profit

Saturday, April 24, 2010

••• Results from Toyota Motor to be released next month are expected to show the auto giant returning to profit in the year to March, despite a massive recall scandal, news reports say.

The Japanese automaker is expected to post a group operating profit of up to 50 billion yen ($531.75 million), reversing a 461 billion yen ($4.90 billion) operating loss for the previous year, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.

The uptick is mainly due to cost-cutting and a weak yen, which offset the costs of the global recalls, the daily said.

The company has recalled around 10 million vehicles worldwide since late last year due to accelerator and brake defects, but nevertheless expected to see a ‘good earnings situation’ a Toyota executive told Kyodo News.

Toyota had earlier forecast an operating loss of 20 billion yen ($212.7 million) for the year to the end of March.

Sales were expected to show a five percent fall to 7.2 million units, Nikkei said. The better-than-expected sales were partially due to strong demand for its new Prius hybrid car in Japan.

A Toyota spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the report.

The firm is due to announce its earnings results in early May.

On Monday the company agreed to pay a $16.4 million fine, the largest for an automaker in the United States, for hiding for at least four months accelerator pedal defects blamed in more than 50 U.S. deaths.

Toyota faces at least 97 U.S. lawsuits seeking damages for injury or death linked to sudden acceleration and 138 class action lawsuits from American customers suing to recoup losses in the resale value of Toyota vehicles.

The company overtook General Motors in 2008 as the world’s top automaker, but the safety recalls raised questions over whether it sacrificed quality to become number one.
• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corporation & Nikkei Inc.
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19
Apr
10

Toyota recalls 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV in North America

NEWS
Toyota recalls 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV in North America

Tuesday, April 19, 2010

••• After duplicating a leading consumer magazine’s tests that showed its 2010 Lexus GX 460 sports-utility vehicle may be susceptible to rolling over, Toyota Motor (TM) will recall the luxury SUV to fix the potential safety problem, it said Monday.

The company will voluntarily recall about 9,400 of the vehicles to update their electronic stability control software. Known as VSC, the system helps control the SUV during a loss of traction that can occur as a result of front or rear wheel slippage during cornering.

▪ A message from Mark Templin, Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager
“Since it was launched more than 20 years ago, Lexus has built its reputation on customer respect and concern for safety. With the news from Consumer Reports that our 2010 GX 460 did not pass its “Throttle Lift-Off” test, we immediately stopped selling the vehicle and commenced vigorous testing to identify and correct the issue.

Today, I’m happy to announce that we have developed a remedy that will be quickly implemented to help address customer concerns. We will be voluntarily recalling all 2010 GX 460s that have been sold in order to update the Vehicle Stability Control system. We will begin implementing this program in the next two weeks and our dealers will be reaching out to customers shortly to set up appointments to make this modification.

Lexus is confident that the update will make the performance of the GX even better for our customers.

As announced earlier, we will provide a courtesy vehicle to anyone who has purchased a 2010 GX 460 and has concerns about driving it until the recall work has been completed.

Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact their local Lexus dealer or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.”

Toyota said owners of affected models will begin receiving notices in early May. The company will provide loaners to vehicle owners who don’t wish to drive them before the recall work has been completed.

The recall follows a report last week by Consumer Reports magazine, which discovered in road tests that the GX 460 could roll over during certain maneuvers, such as decelerating onto a highway exit ramp. The nonprofit publication determined the problem was severe enough to warrant a “don’t buy” warning, its first such rating on a vehicle in almost a decade.

When subjected to a standard track test involving driving the vehicle through a turn as the driver lifts his foot off the accelerator, the rear of the GX 460 slid out until it was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control, Consumer Reports said last week. In a real world situation, such a control failure might cause the the vehicle to hit a curb or the side of the road, leading it to flip over.

After Consumer Reports published its findings on April 13, Toyota halted sales and production of the GX 460 and began its own tests. On Friday, Toyota said it had duplicated the problem that Consumer Reports encountered with the vehicle’s electronic stability control system.

Toyota has struggled with quality and safety issues in recent months. It recalled millions of vehicles last fall for uncontrolled acceleration problems believed to be associated with bulky rubber floor mats. Other recalls soon followed, including one for sticky gas pedals, which led to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fining Toyota a maximum $16.4 million for failing to act quickly enough in notifying the agency of the problem.

On Monday, Toyota agreed to pay the fine, but denied any wrongdoing. Toyota said that while executives could have done a better job of sharing information, both within and outside the company, “We did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem.”

▪ Lexus Canada has announced a voluntary safety recall affecting 2010 model year GX 460 vehicles to update software in the vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system

Toronto, ON – April 19, 2010 – Toyota Canada Inc. has announced a voluntary safety recall affecting approximately 446 2010 model year GX 460 vehicles to update software in the vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system.

Toyota’s vehicle and design evaluation objective is to meet or exceed customer expectations and regulatory requirements. Toyota’s engineering team undertook similar tests to confirm the issue raised by Consumer Reports on April 13, 2010 and we are confident that an update to the VSC software addresses the concern.

All Canadian Lexus dealers will have the VSC software update by end of April. Letters will be sent to owners included in this recall in early May.

No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles are involved in this recall.

• Customers who have any further questions are asked to visit www.lexus.ca or contact Lexus Canada at 1-800-265-3987.

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16
Apr
10

Toyota recalls 600,000 mini-vans over corrosion on spare-tire cable

NEWS
Toyota recalls 600,000 mini-vans over corrosion on spare-tire cable

Friday, April 16, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it was recalling 600,000 Sienna minivans sold in the United States to address potential rusting spare tire cables that could break and create a road hazard in the latest safety problem to strike the beleaguered automaker.

The recall came as House investigators said they planned to hold another congressional hearing in May to review potential electronic problems in runaway Toyotas. The Japanese automaker has recalled more than 8 million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals, humbling a car company long known for its quality and safety.

Company leaders vowed to respond quickly to the safety concerns.

Toyota said its latest recall covered the 1998-2010 model year Siennas with two-wheel-drive that have been sold or registered in 20 cold-climate states and the District of Columbia. Toyota said rust from road salt could cause the carrier cable that holds the spare tire to rust and break, allowing the tire to tumble into the road. The problem could threaten the safety of other drivers.

Toyota said it was unaware of any accidents or injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received six complaints of spare tires falling off Siennas.

The company said it was working on a fix for the problem. In the meantime, customers will receive a notice telling them to bring their vehicle to a dealership for an inspection.

• The recall involves Siennas in the District of Columbia and the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

“Toyota is listening to its customers attentively, and we want to make sure their voices are heard,” said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America.

St. Angelo said the company was providing free inspections of the spare tire carrier cable across the nation, including states not included in the recall. Owners can call (800) 331-4331 for more information about the recall.

Lawmakers remain focused on the spate of recalls affecting the company. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., a subcommittee chairman, said they plan to hold a May 6 hearing to look into potential electronic causes of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

Toyota has said it has found no evidence of electronic problems, attributing the issues to sticking gas pedals and accelerators that can become jammed in floor mats.

Toyota said in a statement Friday it was “more than willing to meet with the committee and discuss the ongoing testing related to our electronic throttle control system, as well as the steps we are taking to improve our quality assurance processes. Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive.”

The Transportation Department has fined the company $16.4 million for failing to promptly notify the government about defective gas pedals among its vehicles. Toyota has until Monday to agree to the penalty or contest it. The fine is the largest civil penalty ever issued to an automaker by the government.

Transportation officials have not ruled out additional fines. The department is reviewing whether Toyota delayed for six weeks the late January recall of the 2009-2010 Venza in the United States to address floor mats that could entrap the accelerator pedal after making a similar recall in Canada.

Toyota recalled the Venza in Canada in December and reported to the U.S. government on Dec. 16 that the floor mats could move forward while the vehicle is in use and “may interfere with the accelerator pedal.” Toyota told U.S. authorities at the time that the floor mats in question were not imported into the U.S. but the Venza was added to the floor mat recall in late January.

Automakers are required to notify the U.S. government within five business days when they find a potential safety defect.

Waxman and Stupak, meanwhile, have asked Toyota and outside consulting firm Exponent Inc. to provide documents detailing a review of possible electronic problems in its vehicles. Exponent, which was hired by Toyota, said in an interim report it could find no evidence that electronic malfunctions had caused sudden unintended acceleration.

Committee investigators said in February that the Exponent testing was flawed because it studied only a small number of Toyota vehicles and consumer groups have said electronics could be the cause of the acceleration problems. Reviews of some high-profile crashes in San Diego and suburban New York have failed to find either mechanical or electronic problems.

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08
Apr
10

Toyota Executive Urged Company to ‘Come Clean’

NEWS
Toyota Executive Urged Company to ‘Come Clean’

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Toyota’s bid to present itself as a company that puts customers first has been shattered by an internal memo in which a senior American executive begged Japanese management to stop concealing safety issues from the general public.

“The time to hide on this one is over,” warned the email, “We need to come clean.”

The emergence of the email follows the decision by U.S. safety regulators earlier this week to issue Toyota with the maximum possible fine of $16.4 million. That judgment, which punishes the Japanese giant for its slow response to safety issues, has left the company in a difficult position: appeal and prolong its public grilling or accept the decision and risk admitting liability in scores of class-action lawsuits.

Written in mid-January, just days before the company was plunged into its most damaging vehicle recall ever, the email refers directly to company efforts to cover-up mechanical problems with accelerator pedals.

Before January, Toyota had only acknowledged publicly that accelerator pedals could become stuck by becoming entangled in loose floor-mats.

But the internal emails now in the hands of U.S. investigators reveal a tussle within Toyota over whether or not to inform the public over more fundamental flaws in the pedal mechanism – problems that had not at the time been fully understood by Toyota’s engineers and to which there was no clear “fix” available.

Irv Miller, who has since retired but was then Toyota’s vice president for public affairs, sent the email in response to comments by his Japanese colleague, Katsuhiko Koganei – a senior executive who had been dispatched from Toyota’s Japanese headquarters to co-ordinate with his U.S. colleagues.
Mr. Koganei argued in a previous email that the company “should not mention about the mechanical failures of the pedal”, because the cause of the fault had not yet been identified and that a statement by Toyota would unsettle motorists.

“We are not protecting our customers by keeping this quiet,” replied Mr. Miller, who then used capital letters to stress his concern, “…WE HAVE a tendency for MECHANICAL failure in accelerator pedals of a certain manufacturer on certain models.”

The email is among a massive collection of over 70,000 documents currently held by U.S. government safety investigators as they continues their probe into Toyota’s handing of its “sticky” accelerator problems. The paper trail includes a large number of internal emails and memos.

Those documents include a letter sent in 2006 to the then president of Toyota from the leader of one of the company’s unions. The letter cited direct and long-term experience from the factory floor and identified systemic “safety sacrifices” made as the company had expanded.

Toyota said that it would not comment on internal communications within the company but said that: “we have publicly acknowledged on several occasions that the company did a poor job of communicating during the period preceding our recent recalls.”

Toyota said that it had subsequently taken “important steps to improve our communications with regulators and customers”.

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06
Apr
10

U.S. Department of Transport to fine Toyota $16.4 million

NEWS
U.S. Department of Transport to fine Toyota $16.4 million

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp faces a proposed $16.4 million fine from U.S. regulators who said the automaker knowingly delayed a massive recall for defective accelerator pedals.

The U.S. Department of Transport has announced that it plans to fine Toyota Motor Corporation $16.4 million after the family-controlled automaker failed to notify U.S. transport regulators about defects that allegedly cause unintended acceleration.

According to a statement released yesterday, the investigation into the Toyota recalls by the Department of Transport revealed the world’s largest car manufacturer was aware of the so called “sticky-pedal” defect for at least four months before revealing it to safety authorities. U.S. law states carmakers must inform authorities of any problems the find within five days.

Toyota, which now has two weeks to decide whether to appeal against the decision, is yet to respond to the news.
The defect in question is at the centre of the current recall crisis that has seen Toyota recall over 8 million vehicles worldwide since November. Third-generation family head Akio Toyoda has been accused of mishandling the recalls, as he remained largely silent on the matter until February.
However, he has since attempted to rectify the company’s negative publicity, appearing in public often and personally heading a Toyota committee that is investigating the safety recalls.

Toyota has two weeks to decide its response.

The “sticky pedal” case was the only one in a string of voluntary recalls where a formal defect finding was established.

Documents obtained from Toyota showed the automaker had issued repair notices in Canada and Europe to address complaints about “sticky pedals,” sudden acceleration and sudden engine revving in late September, but did not begin a U.S. recall until late January, regulators said.

Manufacturers are legally obligated to notify U.S. safety regulators within five business days if they determine that a safety defect exists. The documents showed Toyota was aware U.S. consumers were experiencing the same problems, the Transportation Department said.

As part of the pedal recall, Toyota has offered to add a metal shim or replace them completely.

Previously, the largest fine was $1 million against General Motors Co for failing to promptly recall windshield wipers in 2002-2003 model vehicles.

Fines for violating auto regulations were increased earlier in this decade after massive recalls involving Firestone tires.
Related: Toyota to Replace Accelerator Pedals for Unhappy Owners GO
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23
Mar
10

Toyota to Replace Accelerator Pedals for Unhappy Owners

NEWS
Toyota to Replace Accelerator Pedals for Unhappy Owners

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

••• NHTSA gets over 100 complaints on fixed Toyota vehicles.
It was reported earlier this month that some Toyota drivers are still experiencing unintended acceleration after their recalled vehicles were repaired. According to an Associated Press analysis of government data, complaints of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles repaired under recall have nearly doubled in the past two weeks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received complaints from 105 drivers, raising the question about whether Toyota’s recall repairs are actually working.

Toyota has previously said that it is confident in its repairs and found no evidence of other problems, such as a problem in the electronics.

David Strickland, NHTSA’s administrator, did say in a statement Wednesday that the agency has found “several instances in which a dealer made mistakes in applying one of the recall remedies.” He said that the NHTSA is working with Toyota to improve instruction to dealers.

Toyota has recalled more than 8.1 million vehicles worldwide since October.
Just last week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received complaints from 105 drivers complaining that their vehicles were still experiencing unintended acceleration issues after they took their vehicle in for a recall fix.

Toyota has now told its dealers that it will provide a replacement accelerator pedal to owners who are unsatisfied with their repairs.

Toyota sent out a memo today, obtained by the Associated Press, stating that if customers are still unhappy with with the feel of the accelerator after being repaired, the dealer can provide them a replacement pedal at no additional charge.

“A replacement pedal should only be offered to a customer after the reinforcement bar has been installed and the customer has expressed dissatisfaction with the operation and/or feel of the pedal,” Toyota said in the memo to dealers.

“If a customer is not satisfied with the operation and/or the feel of the accelerator pedal after the reinforcement bar has been installed, please assist us by assuring a replacement pedal is provided at no charge to these customers,” the memo said.

The memo addresses eight Toyota vehicles including:

▪ 2005-2010 Avalon
▪ 2007-2010 Camry
▪ 2007-2010 Tundra
▪ 2009-2010 Corolla, Matrix
▪ 2009-2010 Toyota RAV4
▪ 2008-2010 Sequoia
▪ 2008-2010 Highlander.

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12
Mar
10

California Lawsuit Claims Toyota Hid Defect Evidence

NEWS
California Lawsuit Claims Toyota Hid Defect Evidence

Friday, March 12, 2010

••• Southern California prosecutors filed the first U.S. consumer protection lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp on Friday, claiming it had engaged in “fraud” by hiding evidence of dangerous vehicle defects.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said his office along with private attorneys sued the U.S. sales arm of Toyota, charging that the world’s top-selling automaker has endangered the public with defective vehicles, and engaged in deceptive business practices.

“Against this backdrop of fraud and concealment, Toyota has for decades touted its reputation for safety and reliability and knew that people bought its vehicles because of that reputation and yet purposefully chose to conceal and suppress the existence and nature of defects,” said the 18-page lawsuit filed on Friday morning.

The suit seeks to keep Toyota “from continuing to endanger the public through the sale of defective vehicles and deceptive business practices.”

A Toyota spokesman said the company had no immediate comment.

Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles globally to address the risk that accelerator pedals on a range of its vehicles could become stuck because of a loose floor mat or a glitch in the pedal assembly.

Unintended acceleration in the company’s Toyota and Lexus vehicles has been linked to at least five U.S. crash deaths since 2007. Authorities are investigating reports alleging 47 other fatalities over the past decade.

The suit charges that Toyota knew about the defects in “selling and leasing hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks with defects that caused sudden unexpected and uncontrollable acceleration.”

Rackauckas told a news conference that his office will work with private attorneys from Robinson, Calcagnie and Robinson of Newport Beach in Orange County.

Rackauckas, a Republican who is up for re-election this year, defended his office’s filing of the suit and the hiring of the private attorneys.

The news conference drew a lone demonstrator carrying a green sign that read, “I (heart) Toyota.” The demonstrator, Kerri Wilson, said her husband worked for Toyota. She briefly engaged a Rackauckus staff member over the DA’s involvement in the case, suggesting that it was done for political gain.

Rackauckas told reporters he was becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of consumers and that his office has jurisdiction because Toyota’s U.S. headquarters is in California. He also said that the private attorneys will be paid from any proceeds of the lawsuit.

Orange County is just north of San Diego County, where a California Highway Patrol trooper and three members of his family were killed in a crash last August involving a Toyota vehicle. It abuts Los Angeles County, where Toyota has its U.S. sales headquarters in Torrance.

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