Toyota proposes economic loss settlement worth up to $1.4 billion over unintended acceleration claims
Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota announced a proposal today worth over a billion dollars to settle civil claims of economic loss related to alleged cases of sudden unintended acceleration in its vehicles from 2009-2010. Estimates place the cost of the settlement between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion, which would, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs, make it the largest of its type in US history. US District Judge James Selna, who is presiding over the case in California, will review Toyota’s settlement proposal as early as Friday. The details of the settlement, as given by Toyota in an official statement and obtained from a press release issued by lawyers for the plaintiffs, are as follows. Toyota will install brake override systems in all 3.25 million vehicles subjected to the floor mat entrapment recall . A fund of $250 million will compensate former Toyota owners who sold their cars from September 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010 for lost value. Another fund of $250 million will compensate current owners whose vehicles are not eligible for the free brake override system. All 16 million current Toyota owners will be eligible for a customer care plan that warrants certain parts allegedly related to unintended acceleration for three to 10 years. Education grants valued at $30 million will be made to independent academic institutions to further study auto safety and enhance driver education. As mentioned above, the settlement relates only to claims of economic loss, and thus does not cover wrongful death claims, the first trail for which is slated to begin in February 2013.
Filed under: Sedan , Safety , Videos , Toyota , Volkswagen Crash tests continue to get ever tougher, and the new “small overlap” test from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety is giving engineers fits. The new procedure, launched in August , subjects just 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end to an impact at 40 miles per hour, and it’s proven to be a lot tougher to ace than the institute’s old 40-percent overlap test, which is also still in use. The test is designed to simulate impact with a pole, tree or an offset other vehicle – all common crash scenarios. In its initial round of tests, the IIHS found just three of 11 midsize luxury and near-premium cars up to the job of earning acceptable or good ratings. In this latest go around, the IIHS subjected 18 midsize family sedans to the test, with two earning good ratings, 11 earning acceptable scores, three netting marginal and two suffering poor marks. Of those tested, the Honda Accord and Suzuki Kizashi earned top marks. Interestingly enough, the IIHS has gone out of its way to highlight the poor performances by the Toyota automobiles it tested. The Camry and Prius V were both called out for poor performances in the small overlap, deeming them “the worst performers of the midsize group.” This, despite the fact that both models were new for 2012. Interestingly, both vehicles previously earned Top Safety Pick status, showing just how tough the new small overlap test really is. IIHS also called out the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta for a poor performance, noting that its driver airbag module actually detached from the steering column during the crash test.
Filed under: Hybrid , Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Crossover , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury This summer, we brought you news that Lexus was recalling over 150,000 RX and RX hybrid crossovers tied to its massive pedal entrapment issue. An update to that story included word from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it was considering launching a federal investigation into potential delays by the automaker in notifying owners about the problem. Now comes news that parent company Toyota will pay a hefty $17.35 million in fines for delaying its recall of the 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h. According to The Detroit News , the Japanese automaker is being forced to pay the maximum fine for delaying recalls – and this isn’t the first time. In fact, this is the fourth time since 2010 that Toyota has been required to do so, including paying $48.8M in civil penalties in 2010 for failing to recall vehicles in a timely manner – in three separate campaigns. In addition to the fines, Toyota has agreed to restructure the way it handles quality control and review “safety-related issues.” Though the Japanese automaker has not admitted any wrongdoing, Toyota has agreed to meet with NHTSA for six months on the matter and may extend the meetings another six months. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he is counting on Toyota to improve its ability to address such safety issues: “With today’s announcement, I expect Toyota to rigorously reinforce its commitment to adhering to the United States safety regulations,” he said in a statement. According to the report, Toyota has recalled more vehicles than any other automaker so far this year – 5.3 million in 13 separate campaigns – putting it about two million units ahead of second-place Honda . This latest fine is a drop in the bucket compared to Toyota’s expected global profits of $9.7 billion by the end of March, 2013. That said, Congress has already agreed to a new fine that will push the maximum penalty for delayed recalls up to $35 million.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Ford , GM , Mazda , Toyota At present, over 90 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States today are equipped with event data recorders, more commonly known as black boxes. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets its way, that already high figure will swell to a full 100 percent in short order. Such automotive black boxes have been in existence since the 1990s, and all current Ford , General Motors , Mazda and Toyota vehicles are so equipped. NHTSA has been attempting to make these data recorders mandatory for automakers, and according to The Detroit News, the White House Office of Management Budget has just finished reviewing the proposal, clearing the way. Now NHTSA is expected to draft new legislation to make the boxes a requirement. One problem with current black boxes is that there’s no set of standards for automakers to follow when creating what bits of data are recorded, and for how long or in what format it is stored. In other words, one automaker’s box is probably not compatible with its competitors. Expect all these issues to be worked out “in the coming months,” according to NHTSA spokeswoman Lynda Tran. White House clears way for NHTSA to mandate vehicle black boxes originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Dec 2012 10:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Truck , Recalls , Safety , Toyota Toyota has initiated a recall of its Tacoma pick-up from the 2001 to 2004 model years, with up to 150,000 units affected. Tacomas sold in 20 snowbelt states and the District of Columbia could have an issue with the lift plate on their spare tire carrier, which is a piece of metal that helps raise the emergency spare wheel located at the back and underneath the truck. The plate might not have been properly coated with anticorrosion protection, and this could lead to the plate corroding on trucks driven in states that use salt on the roads during the winter. A lift plate failure could lead to the spare tire coming loose and causing an accident. Toyota is working on a remedy to the situation and will notify owners when it is ready. The release below from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more information, including all of the cold-weather states in which affected trucks are registered, and indicates that the recall should begin next month. Continue reading Toyota issues recall for 150K Tacoma pickups over possible spare tire trouble Toyota issues recall for 150K Tacoma pickups over possible spare tire trouble originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Nov 2012 17:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Safety , Ford , GM , Nissan , Toyota , Police/Emergency , Specialty , Fisker To help those effected by Hurricane Sandy cope with the natural disaster, automakers are stepping up in various ways. Known to us right now are contributions of aid or assistance by Ford , General Motors , Toyota , Fisker and Nissan . Toyota and Ford have opted to give in the most straightforward fashion: donations of money. Ford has announced that its own employees have collected $50,000 to donate, and Toyota has stated that it will contribute $1 million in support of relief efforts. Both companies have made these contributions to the American Red Cross. Other automakers have opted to offer tangible, on-the-ground resources to the relief effort. GM has pledged 50 utility vehicles, including Express cargo vans, Traverse crossovers and Tahoe SUVs, to the Red Cross. The vehicles will be fitted with 200 OnStar Hands-Free calling minutes and a month of turn-by-turn navigation. GM has also donated $250,000 to the Red Cross. Fisker Automotive has offered up its 3.2-million-square-foot Wilmington, DE facility as a staging area for rescue crews and power trucks.
Filed under: Coupe , Performance , Europe , Safety , Videos , Toyota , Humor Much has been made about the Moose Test as of late. The evasive maneuver test popularized by Swedish safety experts is meant to simulate a driver unexpectedly encountering and attempting to avoid one of these majestic furry beasts. The test is performed by executing a split-second emergency lane change to determine if the vehicle can maintain control. The Jeep Grand Cherokee supposedly failed the test recently in Sweden. Then it was alleged that the circumstances may have been rigged. Then it passed the German version of the test. It was all a bit confusing. The makers of this video have apparently had enough of the Moose Test, which is why before you is a screen grab of a mock moose is in the middle of the road. That vehicle looming behind it? It’s a Toyota GT86 , overseas twin to America’s Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ .
Toyota and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Launch Teen Driver Distraction Study
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 13, 2012) – At a Safety Research Forum here yesterday, Toyota announced that it has teamed up with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) to conduct a major new study of 5,600 teens and adults.
Filed under: Sedan , Japan , Safety , Videos , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury Consumer Reports has found what it says is a flaw with the emergency trunk release handles in certain Lexus models. During testing, the organization found that the federally mandated emergency handles on new Lexus ES and GS sedans can easily break if pulled toward the user (presumably a person trapped inside the vehicle’s trunk). Once broken, the handles no longer function, creating a safety hazard. CR also checked other vehicles in its fleet, but found no such similar defect. As a result, the watchdog alerted both parent Toyota , which has launched its own internal investigation, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the issue. Both the automaker and NHTSA are currently determining whether further action needs to be taken. As you may recall, this isn’t the first time Consumer Reports has blown the safety whistle on a Lexus model . In 2010, CR discovered a flaw in the stability control system of the Lexus GX SUV that lead to increased rollover risk during evasive maneuvers. In that case, Toyota quickly issued a recall, complete with a software update to take care of the problem. Watch the video below for a full explanation of the trunk release issue.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Japan , Safety , Toyota Automotive News reports Toyota may have known about the problem behind the company’s recall of 7.43 million vehicles . The recall covers faulty window switches that may get stuck or catch fire if improperly lubricated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received its first complaint about the issue some four years ago, which singled out American supplier, Tram Inc., and its Japanese parent company, Tokai Rika Co., as being to blame for the trouble. The faulty switches in question were described as emitting a strange smell and were sent back to the supplier for analysis. Tokai Rika couldn’t discern a cause for the failure. Toyota dropped the case in that instance, but continued to monitor the switches. Similar reports flared up once again in 2010, this time with the components actually smoking, and Toyota launched a full-fledged internal investigation that eventually led to the recent recall. The campaign covers nearly 2.5 million vehicles in the US alone. Why did it take Toyota so long to launch the recall? The company says it was trying to discern why the switches were failing before it issued a fix.