Filed under: Government/Legal , Toyota , Ownership Where General Motors and Takata have grabbed many auto safety-related headlines this year with their problems with ignition switches and airbag inflators, a few years ago, a similar sort of scrutiny fell on Toyota for unintended acceleration. After multiple settlements with various parties totaling billions of dollars , the issues seem largely behind the Japanese automaker now. Owners are actually starting to receive their money, but it isn’t exactly breaking the bank. Payouts are expected to be between $37 and $125 per person. Computer science student Jonathan Sourbeer received a check for just $20.91, and he considers what that money actually means in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal . Sourbeer’s biggest gripe is that the roughly 85 lawyers in the case are receiving $227 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses, while the 25 primary plaintiffs and class representatives receive a total of just $395,270. According to the Frequently Asked Questions about the settlement, Toyota set up a $250 million fund to pay affected owners, as well . The money isn’t for injuries or damages but for alleged economic loss to the vehicles. However, Sourbeer says he feels no personal suffering and still has the same car. In addition to the settlement, the automaker obviously has its own legal fees to deal with, as well.
Filed under: Toyota , Earnings/Financials Depending on how you want to look at things, the US Attorney’s Office $1.2-billion dollar settlement with Toyota in March over its unintended acceleration recall was either a big blow to the company or completely inconsequential. From January to March, net income fell five percent to 297 billion yen ($2.89 billion), compared to 313.9 billion yen ($3.05 billion) a year ago. However, the automaker still posted record full-year profits worldwide. Operating profit also fell in the US by 9 percent to $498.1 million for the quarter, but sales were up by 6 percent to 581,261 vehicles. According to Automotive News , global revenue was still up from January to March by about 13 percent and vehicle sales were up 6 percent to 2.58 million units. However, the payment to the feds did little to hold the company back last year. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, Toyota had net income of 1.82 trillion yen ($17.7 billion), compared to 962.1 billion yen ($9.5 billion) in the last fiscal year. Total vehicle sales were also up. The settlement certainly seemed to stagger Toyota for the quarter, especially in the US. But it didn’t do much overall.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Toyota , Earnings/Financials UPDATE: Just like that, Toyota has released an official statement confirming its $1.2-billion dollar settlement with the US Attorney’s Office. Our story has been updated to reflect this development and the automaker’s official statement has been added below . Toyota has reached a settlement over the criminal probe into its unintended acceleration problems, and the outcome is more expensive than first expected. The Japanese automaker has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to close the investigation among other settlement terms. The criminal inquiry focused on whether the company kept information from regulators and how it handled drivers’ complaints about the problems, according to the sources. Between 2009 and 2010, Toyota ended up recalling over 10 million vehicles worldwide over sudden acceleration fears. Fixes include modifying floor mats, gas pedals, and installing brake override software on affected models. In addition, Toyota made the latter standard on all of its new vehicles. The first rumblings of a settlement broke last month when “people familiar with the matter” revealed a possible billion-dollar agreement . That rumor suggested that the deal would also include criminal deferred prosecution arrangement that would force Toyota to accept responsibility but let it avoid federal criminal convictions.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Technology , Lexus , Toyota So far, the lawsuits brought forth against Toyota for unintended acceleration have gone both ways: the automaker was found not at fault in a 2009 California crash and liable for a 2007 crash in Oklahoma . Both cases involved a Camry and resulted in fatalities. With a big chunk of these UA cases (around 200) set to his the docket of US District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, California, Bloomberg is reporting that the judge has halted the lawsuits until March after Toyota and its lawyers have had extra time to try and settle the cases. According to the article, Toyota is looking to take care of the cases out of court with an “intensive settlement process.” Having already paid out $1.6 billion in “economic loss” suits , this latest settlement process is aimed at the wrongful death and personal injury cases allegedly associated with unintended acceleration. A hearing for the settlements will be held on January 14 with conferences on the matter commencing in February. There is no word as to when lawsuits may start back up if settlements can’t be agreed upon. Judge halts Toyota unintended acceleration cases, triggers time for settlement negotiations originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Dec 2013 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota Toyota has already paid out millions and billions of dollars in settlements surrounding unintended acceleration , but the first lawsuit in the matter , which headed to a California court in July, has reached a verdict. Following the 2009 death of Noriko Uno, whose 2006 Camry was hit by another car and then sped out of control before crashing into a tree, the jury found that Toyota was not at fault in the crash. Even though the 2006 Camry (shown above) wasn’t involved in any of the unintended acceleration-related recalls and it was not equipped with a brake override, Automotive News reports that the jury’s verdict says there was no defect in the car and actually blames the entire incident on the driver that ran into Uno’s car – to the tune of $10 million. The accident started when the other driver ran a stop sign and hit Uno’s car, and the report says that medical conditions (including diabetes) caused Uno to fail to stop her Camry. The AN article also states that this lawsuit was a bellwether case for around 85 other personal-injury and wrongful-death suits against Toyota, but there are still many impending suits across the country. Scroll down for an official statement on this particular case from Toyota. Continue reading Toyota found not at fault in alleged unintended acceleration crash Toyota found not at fault in alleged unintended acceleration crash originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Oct 2013 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Toyota Toyota is going to be back in the spotlight, as the first of its unintended acceleration lawsuits is headed for trial. This case covers a Los Angeles sushi shop owner, Noriko Uno. According to the what the family told The Detroit News , Uno only put about 10,000 miles on her 2006 Toyota Camry in four years. Uno was apparently afraid of high speeds, avoiding the freeway and taking a route home along LA’s surface streets to avoid them. On August 28, 2009, Uno’s Camry suddenly accelerated to 100 miles per hour, eventually striking a telephone poll and a tree and killing her. The family contends that Uno attempted to step on the brakes and pull the emergency brake, neither of which brought her speed under control, while Toyota maintains that improperly installed floormats and driver error have been behind the majority of the 80 cases expected to be heard in court. In Uno’s case, The Detroit News is expecting the trial to focus on the lack of an override if the gas and brake pedals were pressed at the same time. Brake overrides were installed on Toyota’s European fleet. The Uno family attorney will need to prove to the jury that it wasn’t driver error that killed Noriko Uno. Uno’s case will be a bellwether case, which other state courts will use to predict potential outcomes for similar lawsuits.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota , Earnings/Financials A total of 22.6 million current and former Toyota owners have been sent notices that they may be eligible to receive compensation from the automaker for damages related to the unintended acceleration fiasco that has dominated headlines in 2009 and 2010. The total payout may be as high as $1.63 billion, according to The Detroit News . Steve Berman, a lawyer for the owners, calls the potential deal “a landmark, if not a record, settlement in automobile defects class action litigation in the United States.” Still, there’s some debate about whether or not Toyota’s proposed settlement is fair, as it includes $30 million for safety research and driver education programs – in other words, Toyota seems to be suggesting that drivers need more education on how to drive their correctly working and fully functional vehicles. For those keeping track, Toyota would also be paying lawyer fees of $200 million. A US District Judge in California is scheduled to hold a so-called “fairness hearing” on June 14 that could decide the fate of this particular settlement. Further courtroom wrangling will be required to hash out any wrongful death suits levied against Toyota stemming from unintended acceleration claims, as those are not part of this class-action suit. Toyota sudden acceleration class action may cover 22 million owners originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 May 2013 09:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Safety , Crossover , Toyota There are, as they say, two sides to every story, so after we posted a video on Monday showing what an owner claimed to be a case of unintended acceleration causing her Toyota Highlander to crash into a house twice , Toyota reached out to us revealing some additional information about the incident. Following this crash, which took place back in November, Toyota had this Highlander inspected and pulled data from its Event Data Recorder (EDR), or Black Box as we’ve come to call it. Not only was this the first time we’ve seen a claim of unintended acceleration like this caught on video, but now, also a first, we have actual data showing what the vehicle itself recorded during this frightening ordeal. Brian Lyons, Toyota Communications Manager for Safety and Quality, first gave us some information about the Highlander in question, including the fact that it was a 2012 model. The 2012 Highlander came from the factory with a brake override system, meaning it was not part of the company’s initiative in 2010 to add the system to all 2011 models. Also, after looking at the data from the EDR, he said – as many of you pointed out in the comments for the previous post – that the “brake pedal was never touched.” In the video, you can see that the crossover’s brake lights never come on, and the EDR’s data backs this up. The data pulled from the EDR – posted in the gallery below as two images – shows the two “events,” which were recorded each time the vehicle impacted the house. In the first event , the data provided by Toyota shows that 3.6 seconds before the impact, the vehicle began to slow down before speeding up to almost 15 miles per hour as it slammed into the house. In the second event , which resulted in a more violent collision with the house, the Highlander reached speeds of almost 30 mph with the engine racing at 4,400 rpm. In both images, it shows that the brake switch was in the “OFF” position the entire time, indicating that the driver was not attempting to press the brake.