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Posts Tagged ‘toyota fines’

Approval of Toyota Settlement Doesn’t End Unintended Acceleration Nightmare

Maker still faces potential billions in claims for injuries, deaths.

by on Dec.31, 2012

Will Toyota settle the remaining unintended acceleration cases to keep pictures like this crash scene out of the headlines?

A federal judge in suburban Los Angeles has given his preliminary approval to a settlement estimated to be worth as much as $1.4 billion in a collection of cases involving the unintended acceleration of Toyota Motor Co. products – but the deal only resolves what one observer described as the “easy” part of the litigation facing the Japanese giant.

If given the court’s final okay sometime next year, the agreement would resolve claims that the unintended acceleration problems led to a sharp decline in the value of Toyota vehicles.

But it does not resolve scores of additional claims filed by those who allege they were injured during “runaway car” crashes or on behalf of others who were killed.

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The new Toyota settlement resolves “an economic value lawsuit,” stresses Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting.  And while that may involve the majority of the lawsuits Toyota was facing, he notes it’s “the highly emotional lawsuits yet to be heard.  And when you start parading in front of a jury grizzly images of people injured or killed that makes for great headlines.”


BMW Hit With $3 Mil Fine for Safety Delays

Feds say German maker dawdled on recall.

by on Feb.13, 2012

BMW delayed recalls on several models, including the 5-Series, NHTSA said.

Dawdling on safety will cost BMW $3 million.

The maker has agreed to pay that money in fines levied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which charged the German maker with failing to report safety defects and related information in a timely manner as required by federal law.  The settlement avoided any formal finding of wrongdoing.

The settlement concludes an investigation opened two years ago looking into alleged non-compliance with U.S. safety standards – which require that automakers notify the NHTSA within five days of learning about a safety defect or related problems.

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But after examining 16 separate recalls in 2010 NHTSA discovered numerous instances where BMW fell short, the agency’s Recall Management Division determining that, “BMW appears to maintain a practice, by design or habit, in which it provides little information” to the government despite the requirement.

The most serious issue involved BMW 5 and 6-Series cars from 2004-2010 and 7-Series models from 2002-2008.


Toyota Recalls Push Into 2011 as 245,000 Lexus Sedans Are Targeted

Global total to top 1.7 million.

by on Jan.26, 2011

Targeted for recall, the 2007 Lexus GS.

Despite recent protestations by a senior Toyota executive that the worst of the maker’s safety problems are behind it, the Japanese giant is getting 2011 off to a shaky start.

The potentially faulty installation of fuel pressure sensors is forcing the maker to recall 245,000 sedans in the U.S.  And, unusually, the recall is significantly larger overseas, where repairs will be needed on another 1.5 million Toyota vehicles – for a total of more than 1.7 million products.

The overseas recalls involves vehicles with defects that could lead to a gasoline leak, Toyota revealed.

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The U.S. recall involves 2006 and 2007 Lexus GS 300 and GS 350 models, 2006 – 2008 Lexus IS 350 sedans, and 2006 – 2009 IS 250 models.  A wide range of passenger cars, minivans and crossovers are being called back in Europe and Japan, including the maker’s Japanese premium model, the Toyota Crown.

In a Detroit appearance, earlier this month, Toyota’s top U.S. executive suggested that the maker has “regained” some of the ground it lost last year as a result of its seemingly endless series of safety issues.  They included problems not only with so-called unintended acceleration, but also brake and steering issues and even excessive corrosion that could cause parts to fall off Toyota Sienna minivans.


Toyota Setting Up New U.S. Safety Center

Maker commits $50 million to new “collaborative” project.

by on Jan.10, 2011

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda approves a new $50 million safety research center in suburban Detroit.

Toyota is setting up what it has dubbed a Collaborative Safety Research Center at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“Toyota’s new safety research center will work with leading North American universities and other partners on safety projects that benefit the entire industry.  Our investment will support collaborative research aiming to reduce driver distraction and increase the safety of vehicles, drivers, passengers and pedestrians,” Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda said.

The center will utilize Toyota researchers and engineers from North America and Japan.  The company estimates that it will commit approximately $50 million over the next five years to fund CSRC and will also utilize the efforts of Virginia Tech and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Initial areas of focus will include reducing the risk of driver distraction – a growing cause of accidents – and protecting the most vulnerable traffic populations, including children, teens and seniors, who account for 30% of the nation’s traffic fatalities.

In addition, CSRC will conduct in-depth analyses of available accident and human behavior data to help evaluate and speed deployment of active safety systems.

Chuck Gulash, a Senior Executive Engineer at the Toyota Technical Center, will serve as Director of CSRC.  He will report to Shigeki Terashi, who is a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation and the president of TTC.


Could Toyota Face Another Big Fine?

Feds look at possibly inappropriate delay of Venza recall.

by on Apr.16, 2010

Did Toyota improperly delay the recall of the 2010 Venza crossover?

Already facing a record $16.4 million, Toyota just might have to dig even deeper into the corporate cookie jar, as federal regulators investigate whether the Japanese giant improperly delayed the recall of its Venza crossover vehicle.

The initial fine, the maximum possible, was announced earlier this month by the Department of Transportation which contends Toyota took months to reveal to regulators a problem with sticky accelerator pedals.  After a fierce debate between U.S. and Japanese executives, Toyota ultimately recalled 2.3 million vehicles on January 21.  But that move came long after the 5-day window for reporting a known defect to the government.

Now, the Los Angeles Times reports, the government wants to know why the Venza wasn’t recalled until January 27 of this year.  The automaker had already issued a recall notice in December for cars sold in Canada.

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The maker says it uses different floor mats in the U.S. and its northern neighbor, and the one in Canadian cars clearly could come loose and jam accelerator pedals – the cause of an earlier U.S. recall initially involving 3.8 million cars, trucks and crossovers.


Toyota Will Contact Customers Reporting Vehicle Runaways

Maker will reach out in any sudden acceleration claim within 24 hours.

by on Apr.09, 2010

Have a sticky accelerator or some other problem with a "runaway Toyota"? The maker's new SMART team will be in touch, it claims, within 24 hours.

As many as 200 Toyota engineers have been put on call and will be poised to respond to any customer reporting a problem with a runaway car, the maker says.

Any report of sudden acceleration will be dealt with in less than 24 hours by the new Swift Market Analysis Response Team, or SMART, according to Toyota, with engineers dispatched to examine the vehicle to see what might have caused the problem.  It’s the latest step by the Japanese maker, which is struggling to understand why so many owners have reported runaway vehicles, some even after their cars, trucks and crossovers have been reparied in accordance with two Toyota recalls.

“There has been a great deal of confusion, speculation and misinformation about unintended acceleration in the past several weeks,” declared Steve St. Angelo, who was recently named Toyota’s North American quality czar. “We believe judgments should be based on reliable evidence, and our SMART business process is there to help provide information upon which such judgments can be made.”

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In a release, St. Angelo pointed to two recent cases, one in San Diego, the other in upstate New York, in which it appears the Toyota vehicles likely weren’t at fault.  There is some evidence to suggest the California case was either a hoax or driver error, while the East Coast incident was likely the result of a driver confusing the brake and accelerator pedals.