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: 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 , Technology , Toyota In recent years, Toyota vehicles have been involved in a number high-profile accidents blamed on ” unintended acceleration .” And whether the root cause of these incidents boils down to driver error or faulty mechanicals, Toyota is working to address the issue. One of two new systems in development at Toyota goes by the name of Intelligent Clearance Sonar. The technology is meant to reduce parking lot collisions by detecting objects out of the driver’s sight. If an imminent collision is detected, the ICS system will automatically hit the brakes, reduce engine power and sound an alarm. Toyota’s other new safety system is Drive-Start Control. According to the automaker, if the system senses that the wrong gear has been selected from Park while the driver is pressing on the accelerator, a warning is flashed on the dashboard and engine output is reduced “to limit a sudden start or acceleration.” There are a number of scenarios where the system might kick in – for example, if a driver bumps into something while reversing, panics and shifts into a forward gear without letting up on the accelerator, DSC would take over. While such research is commendable, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called for making such systems mandatory in coming years. And more and more automakers are investigating and/or committing to developing electronic failsafes to deal with unintended acceleration. Last month, Nissan announced a camera-based system designed to curb pedal misapplication. Toyota says the systems will be available on future vehicles soon, a development that could give it a leg up on the competition if/when new federal rules are approved.
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: Hybrid , Sedan , Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Crossover , Hatchback , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has grown its investigation into certain Toyota models to cover a full 1.4 million cars and trucks. Reuters reports the government safety agency has upgraded the investigation to a full-blown engineering analysis, which may eventually lead to a recall. NHTSA has received a number of complaints concerning fires tied to models built between September 2006 and August 2008 that use the same power window master switch design. All told, customers have reported nine injuries and 161 crashes or fires, though no deaths have been tied to the issue. The analysis covers 2007-2009 Camry , Camry Hybrid , RAV4 and Yaris models as well as 2008 Highlander Hybrid crossover. Back in February, NHTSA opened an investigation into 830,000 Camry and RAV4 units , though today’s announcement grows that number to over 1.4 million models. NHTSA expands Toyota fire probe to 1.4M cars and trucks originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Jun 2012 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
On May 16, 2012, Lexus filed a Defect Information Report (DIR) with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicating it will conduct a voluntary safety recall of approximately 650 – early 2013 model year GS30 F-Sport Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) vehicles to update the Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) electronic control unit (ECU) calibration.
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: Etc. , Government/Legal , Safety , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Kia , Nissan , Subaru , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a number of vehicles for potentially faulty side airbags , according to The Detroit News . The airbags may have been manufactured with an ineffective mix of inflation gasses, which could leave the bags flat in the event of a collision. The defective hardware has found its way into models from Toyota , Honda , Subaru and Nissan , and has resulted in the recall of around 2,700 units so far. If NHTSA finds the defective airbags in other vehicles, that number could swell substantially. The defective airbag inflators were manufactured by a Autoliv, a Swedish supplier. According to the report, Autoliv shipped a total of 10,500 faulty inflators to manufacturers as well as two other airbag makers. Chrysler , Ford , General Motors , Kia and Suzuki all purchased the defective parts, though it’s unclear exactly which models were equipped with the Autoliv pieces. Ford, GM and Chrysler have all said their airbag inflators work differently than those used by other automakers. The companies haven’t seen any failures in extensive testing.
On January 31, 2012, Toyota filed a Defect Information Report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicating it will conduct a voluntary safety recall of approximately 427 – 2011 model year RAV4 vehicles to replace the side curtain airbag(s).
Over the past two years, major government investigations of Toyota vehicles and technologies undertaken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and engineers at the National Aeronautics and Safety Administration (NASA) have been clear and unequivocal in their conclusions: there are no real-world scenarios in which Toyota electronics can cause unintended acceleration. Last week, a report by the National Academies of Sciences put another nail in the coffin of this discredited theory, concluding that all the data available indicated that there was no electronic or software problem in Toyota vehicles and that NHTSA was justified in closing its investigation.