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.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Toyota Toyota announced today that it has reached a settlement with the Attorneys General of 29 states and one US territory that will resolve their complaints relating to recalls performed by the automaker from 2005-2010, including those related to sticky accelerators and malfunctioning floor mats that may have contributed to cases of unintended acceleration. The settlement includes a payout of $29 million to be divided among the states and US territory, as well as a commitment from Toyota “to take steps to make vehicle information more easily accessible to consumers to help them operate their vehicles safely and make more informed choices.” The settlement also has Toyota continuing its rapid-response service teams and quality field offices that were put in place shortly after the largest of the recalls from 2010, as well as a “range of customer care amenities for owners of vehicles subject to certain recalls,” though the press release below isn’t specific about what those amenities might be. This settlement marks the second major step in the last few months that Toyota has taken to settle legal disputes surrounding the unintended acceleration recalls, the first being a $1.4 billion settlement to address economic loss suffered by owners of current and past Toyota vehicles that may have lost value on account of these recalls. Continue reading Toyota settles complaints with states Attorneys General for $29 million Toyota settles complaints with states Attorneys General for $29 million originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Feb 2013 17:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota , Earnings/Financials The Toyota settlement recently submitted to US District Judge James Selna for approval will cost the company anywhere from $1 billion to $1.4 billion. All to settle the class-action suit brought against it for economic losses stemming from claims of unintended acceleration . This suit only addresses the perceived loss-of-value that Toyota owners and lessees feel they have suffered, alleging their cars were the victims of unintended depreciation even if they did not directly suffer from the alleged cases of unintended/sudden acceleration. This is a separate case than the wrongful death suits brought about by the unintended acceleration brouhaha. When the settlement was announced, this was the overview of its payouts: Toyota will install brake override systems in all 3.25 million vehicles subjected to the floor mat entrapment recall . Another fund of $250 million will compensate current owners whose vehicles are not eligible for the free brake override system. 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. Education grants valued at $30 million will be made to independent academic institutions to further study auto safety and enhance driver education. 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. Car and Driver attempts to break down where all that largesse is going, and who’s going to get large off of it.