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Posts Tagged ‘Toyota rollovers’

Toyota’s Latest Recall: 50,000 Sequoia SUVs

Maker says no “unreasonable risk,” but acts anyway.

by on Apr.28, 2010

No "unreasonable risk," but Toyota recalls its 2003 Sequoia anyway.

Seemingly unable to stay out of the headlines, Toyota has announced yet another recall, this one involving 50,000 of its Sequoia sport-utility vehicles due to concerns about potential rollover problems.

The move comes just weeks after Toyota was slammed by influential Consumer Reports magazine for a problem with the stability control system on its newly-updated 2010 Lexus GX460, which could lead to a rollover.  The maker responded by halting sales of that luxury SUV, and says it will fix the nearly 9,000 vehicles already in consumers’ hands.


Toyota Expands Service Campaign for Leaking Oil Hoses. Latest Action is not Safety Recall.

Reuters says Toyota replacing oil hose in 933,800 U.S. vehicles.

by on Mar.01, 2010

Toyota Motor Sales will replace an oil hose in about 933,800 vehicles in the United States because of the risk of a leak that could damage, the automaker confirmed to Reuters on Monday.

It was the latest blow to its quality image, which is suffering from ongoing recalls, safety investigations on more than 10 million vehicles globally.

Toyota’s quality control head,  Shinichi Sasaki, and North American President Yoshimi Inaba are scheduled to appear before a Senate committee on tomorrow  for a third hearing on its and  the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s handling of complaints and 34 alleged deaths involving sudden or uncontrolled  acceleration.

In the defective oil hose case, Camry, Avalon, Rav4 and Lexus vehicles with V6 engines are affected. An engine oil hose may leak Toyota said in a bulletin sent to U.S. dealers and obtained by Reuters on Monday.

Toyota says t has taken this step in the interest of customer satisfaction -  informing owners that Toyota and Lexus dealers will modify their vehicle prior to them experiencing the condition.

This is actually the expansion of  two previous service actions. For phase three revealed today, there are approximately 128,800 Avalon (2007 – 2009 model year) and 89,000 RAV4 V6 (2007 – 2009 model year) vehicles involved in the United States.

Last year, Toyota also announced phases one and two of this service action  on approximately 342,200 Toyota Avalon (model year 2005 – 2006), Camry (2007 – early 2010) and RAV4 V6 (2006 model year), and 374,000 Lexus ES 350 (model year 2007-2008) and RX 350 (model year 2007-2009) vehicles.

Owners of the involved vehicles will receive a notification by first class mail.

Toyota dealers will replace the VVT-i oil hose with a newly designed one at no  charge  to the customer. The repair will take approximately one hour. However, Toyota says depending upon the dealer’s work schedule, it may be necessary to make the vehicle available for a longer period of time.

This Limited Service Campaign will be offered until March 31, 2013.

Towns Claims Toyota Withheld Rollover Data

Legal woes expand, again, at the beleaguered Japanese maker.

by on Feb.27, 2010

Is Inaba caught in a potential legal trap and the crossfire of Congressional elections?

Edolphus Towns (D-NY) said yesterday that a review of documents obtained under subpoena from a former lawyer at Toyota indicate that Toyota “deliberately withheld records” it was legally required to produce in response to discovery orders in litigation.

Where these latest charges lead is not immediately clear – and this matter is already subject to contentious litigation in California. However, without doubt this  complicates the tarnished quality  image and very real legal troubles that Toyota faces with respect to its handling of safety matters.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also looking at whether Toyota acted according to U.S. law while recalling six million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States after it became aware of problems with the sticking accelerator pedals and uncontrolled vehicles. The vehicles in question have been subject to several, ever widening, recalls since last fall, and at least 34 deaths are now, alleged, to have resulted from Toyota safety defects in the U.S.

Many of the documents in question, which Towns in his press release did not provide, apparently contain specific comments on  tragic “rollover” cases in which a driver or passenger was injured, including cases where victims were paralyzed.

The former Toyota lawyer in question, Dimitrios Biller, was Managing Counsel in the Product Liability Group of Toyota Motor Sales, USA (TMS), from April 2003 to September 2007.

In this position, Mr. Biller was part of the defense of some of the largest tort cases filed against Toyota, including “rollover” cases involving dead or seriously injured victims.

Viewers of might recall that we reported at length last year, that Dimitrios Biller, the attorney involved in Toyota’s rollover litigation from 2003 to 2007 has a troubling prior history of suing employers, including the prosecutor’s office in California, where he also once worked before being dismissed. (Click here, and here.)

Congressman Towns, who – never ever forget – is up for re-election at a time when voters are clearly exasperated with ineffectual incumbents for their lack of action on financial regulation, fiscal responsibility and job creation, among other policy failures, subpoenaed Biller’s documents on Thursday, February 18, 2010 before the well-publicized hearing he chaired took place on February 24.

Former Toyota attorney Biller claims in his own separate and ongoing Federal fraud and racketeering case against Toyota in California that information had been withheld from accident victims in as many as 300 civil lawsuits.

Included in the cited — but we repeat unsupplied documents-  is apparently a memo by Biller to his superiors at Toyota, noting that Toyota has failed to produce any e-mails or other electronic records in response to discovery orders.

Toyota has succesfully suppressed the full release of Biller matter documents in a California Federal court.

The Towns’ Committee now officially says it has found multiple references to heretofore-unknown “Books of Knowledge” that were kept electronically, in which Toyota engineers kept their design and testing data across all vehicle lines and for all vehicle parts.   (more…)

Toyota Retracts Statement in Biller Rollover Matter

Contentious cover-up case about deadly rollovers continues.

by on Oct.07, 2009

The Tracy Firm vehicle storage facility

Toyota did reply to NHTSA. Whether accident data was tampered with is now the issue.

Toyota Motor Sales has retracted a statement it made in the Biller matter, a multi-million dollar dispute with former Toyota attorney Dimitrios Biller, who is charging the Japanese company with attempting to thwart the U.S. legal system.

It was the latest troubling development in a troubling case, which will likely drag on for a long time.

Biller, the former National Managing Counsel in charge of Toyota’s National Rollover Program, worked as a lawyer for TMS from 2003 to 2007. He has a prior history of suing an employer, including a prosecutor’s office in California.

Biller’s legal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles claims that Toyota had suppressed evidence in hundreds of lawsuits resulting from rollover accidents involving the Toyota vehicles – charges Toyota denies.

News Analysis!

News Analysis!

One of Biller’s allegations was that Toyota lied to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about roof crush information. In a rollover accident, the strength of the roof can determine whether or not occupants survive.