Filed under: Hybrid , Recalls , Safety , Hatchback , Toyota The Detroit News is reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will investigate some 561,000 Toyota Prius models for potentially defective steering shafts. The affected hybrid models are from the 2004-2009 model years. The story indicates that NHTSA is weighing whether or not to grant a defect petition, which claims that Toyota incorrectly assembled the hatchback’s steering linkage. As of this writing, there is no recall. However, a recall based on the Prius steering shaft would be the third related to steering issues for the model since 2006. Seven years ago, Toyota recalled 170K Prius models for potential cracking of the intermediate shafts, and in November of 2012, the automaker recalled 670K units to replace the steering shaft extension assembly. We’ll be monitoring NHTSA’s signals to see if this investigation turns into a full-fledged recall. For now, stay tuned. NHTSA investigating 561k Toyota Prius hybrids for possible steering shaft defect originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 25 Feb 2013 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Lexus , Toyota Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to settle a shareholder class action lawsuit for $25.5 million. The suit began in early 2010 after reports of accidents attributed to unintended acceleration cropped up. The class action accused Toyota of improperly disclosing “safety and quality issues” related to those reports. The company later recalled as many as 10 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in a program estimated to cost $5 billion. The public relations fallout dragged down the company’s stock value by $30 billion. The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, a member of the lawsuit class, had previously estimated a successful trial could have ended with as much as a $124 million payout. If you hold Toyota stock, though, don’t start spending your winnings just yet. First, common stockholders were disqualified from the suit in 2011. Only claims by investors in Toyota’s American Depository Shares are covered.
Filed under: Budget , Sedan , Etc. , Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota Judge James V. Selna has warned jurors in a wrongful death suit about suspicions surrounding Toyota . According to Inside Line, the warning comes tied to the automaker’s conduct during an investigation of a 2008 Camry involved in a fatal crash allegedly caused by unintended acceleration . The single-car accident in Utah claimed the lives of the driver, Pual van Alfen, as well as one other passenger. Two passengers were also injured in the event on November 5, 2010. According to the report, two weeks later, Toyota inspected the sedan without the owner’s presence or consent, including the onboard black box . Judge Selena cautioned jurors that they should treat the testimony of Toyota personnel who participated in the investigation with “greater caution than that of other witnesses.” Plaintiffs argued that without their own lawyers present during the inspection, data from the Event Data Recorder could have been changed or deleted entirely. The Judge said that while there was no evidence that Toyota did so, the fact that the automaker failed to notify the owner of the inspection casts a “cloud of suspicion” over the examination. Judge cautions jurors over Toyota conduct in sudden acceleration case originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Jun 2012 17:59:00 EST.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Toyota U.S. District Judge James Selna – who has presided over the unintended acceleration cases against Toyota since 2010 – says the automaker does not have the right to compel 20 named plaintiffs into arbitration. The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for lawsuits covering economic losses from the alleged issue of unintended acceleration . Toyota had maintained that leasing and purchase agreements signed by the owners denies owners the right to class-action litigation. According to Bloomberg , although the ruling covers all 20, the are two kinds of plaintiffs in this instance. The judge decided that Toyota had lost its right to arbitration with fifteen of the plaintiffs only because Toyota waited so long to pursue it. Selna concluded that since the plaintiffs had come so far in the litigation process that “They would be prejudiced if their claims were required to be submitted to arbitration now.” Selna further denied Toyota’s right to arbitration with the remaining five because “the carmaker wasn’t a party to the arbitration agreements between the plaintiffs and the Toyota dealers.” The ruling finalizes the tentative decision Selna issued last month. Class-action status for the plaintiffs, however, has not yet been granted. Three trials are scheduled for next year, and they will be used to set precedents for evidence, liability and theories. It is expected that a final decision on class-action status will come after the conclusion of those three cases.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Technology , Videos , Lexus , Toyota CNN revealed a confidential memo written in Japanese on the Anderson Cooper 360 show last night that it contends shows Toyota engineers found an electrical problem that caused sudden unintended acceleration in a pre-production test vehicle. The news organization commissioned three separate translations of the documents, though Toyota has objected to the accuracy of each. Findings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Research Council have both supported Toyota’s original explanation of sudden unintended acceleration being caused by either sticky gas pedals, trapped floor mats or human error. Toyota has never admitted that electronic or software issues were to blame for any reported cases of SUA, and every investigation into the matter has failed to identify the automaker as responsible. Toyota does admit the document in question was not provided to the federal government during their investigations, but explains that “the test and document had nothing to do with unintended acceleration, or a defect, or a safety flaw of any kind.” Rather, Toyota insists the document refers to pre-production testing of the company’s adaptive cruise control system on a version of the Lexus LS 460 sold in Japan and Europe. A Toyota electrical engineer told CNN that the cruise control system acted exactly as it should when they input an abnormal signal, and that the test resulted in further refinements to the system. We’ve embedded the CNN video report after the jump , which also includes anecdotal testimony from one Lexus owner who claims that she has experienced SUA in the period since federal investigators released their findings. Toyota inspected her vehicle and provided data from sensors in her car that showed in her case, acceleration was caused by pedal misapplication. You can also read Toyota’s official response just below the video. Continue reading CNN reveals Toyota memo that purports to show sudden acceleration caused by electronics CNN reveals Toyota memo that purports to show sudden acceleration caused by electronics originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 02 Mar 2012 10:30:00 EST.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Technology , Toyota “We couldn’t find anything, but we’re still blaming the car.” That’s the gist of the statement from a National Academy of Sciences panel headed by New Jersey Institute of Technology physics professor Louis Lanzerotti. The NAS supports U.S. regulators shutting down investigation of Toyota unintended acceleration incidents without finding electronic faults that would cause the behavior. However, at the same time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is planning to call for further oversight and more study to attempt to rule out electronic causes. About the only thing that’s concrete is that crashes happened. To be fair, electronic faults can be tricky to pin down, even with far simpler systems than the networked-computing setups that modern cars universally employ. That’s why event data recording is already part of many automotive systems, along with a high degree of redundancy and fault tolerance. Many carmakers also already program engine management to douse the throttle with brake application in certain situations. Few are more interested in catching intermittent, potentially catastrophic problems than the companies building the cars, and most have already implemented the systems these organs of the state are calling for. Even so, the NAS and NHTSA appear keen to write these tendencies into law.
Filed under: Hybrid , Japan , Recalls , Toyota Toyota is recalling 106,000 Prius models built between 2001 and 2003. A total of 52,000 of those units were sold in the States. Toyota says that if the steering wheel is strongly turned to the full lock position over and over again, the electric power steering pinion shaft nuts may become loose. Over time, that may result in the driver having to exert more force than typically necessary to turn left. Owners can expect to be notified of the recall in early July, and the repair (in which dealers will replace the electric power steering pinion shaft nuts with new equipment) is expected to take around four hours. In addition, the Japanese automaker is recalling a handful of Venza and Sienna all-wheel drive models for improperly heat-treated front drive shafts. The recall covers a total of 34 Venza models and 16 Sienna units produced in 2011, and owners can expect to be notified of the problem by June of this year. Hit the jump for the full press blast. Continue reading Toyota recalls 52,000 Prius hybrids for steering defect Toyota recalls 52,000 Prius hybrids for steering defect originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Jun 2011 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .