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Former U.S. Attorney Monitoring Toyota’s Safety Efforts

Part of $1.2-billion settlement includes watchdog.

by on Aug.13, 2014

As part of the settlement reached by the Justice Department, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, in Toyota's unintended accretion case, former U.S. Attorney David Kelley was named as the monitor for Toyota's safety efforts going forward.

Nearly five months after Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to a $1.2-billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department the two sides agreed on a monitor for the Japanese maker’s safety compliance efforts: former U.S. Attorney David Kelley.

In March, Toyota pleaded not guilty, but acknowledged wrongdoing in its handling of cases of unintended acceleration. The two sides reviewed more than a dozen possible candidates before settling on Kelley.

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A partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP in New York, Kelley role will have him reviewing Toyota’s safety policies and procedures as well as verifying the accuracy of its public statements. (more…)

Toyota Recalling 6.4 Mil Vehicles Worldwide

Nearly 30 different models impacted by a variety of problems.

by on Apr.09, 2014

The Toyota Highlander is one of many vehicles covered by the Japanese maker's huge new recall.

In one of the largest announcements in several years of major safety-related news, Toyota Motor Co. is recalling nearly 6.4 million vehicles for a variety of problems worldwide.

Some of the vehicles are actually covered by more than one recall, and the announcement also impacts products sold by two other makers – Subaru and General Motors — that were produced by Toyota. Adding the Subaru Trezia and Pontiac Vibe to the list brings the total number of vehicles involved in the recall to 6.76 million worldwide.

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Toyota says it has no reports of crashes or injuries related to any of the recalls – though it did note two fires linked to one problem, a defective engine starter that can keep a motor running even if the motorist wants to shut the vehicle off.  That is not related to the defective engine switch problem that has led GM to recall more than 2.5 million vehicles since mid-February.

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Justice Dept. Confirms Toyota Settlement – Maker Will Take $1.2 Bil Hit

“Car owners have a right to expect that their vehicle is safe.”

by on Mar.19, 2014

Motorists "have a right to expect their vehicle is safe," said Attorney General Holder, adding that Toyota intentionally misled the public.

Declaring that “car owners …have a right to expect that their vehicle is safe,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today announced a settlement of a long-running investigation into Toyota’s handling of a series of problems linked to a number of deaths and injuries and the eventual recall of more than 10 million vehicles.

The maker has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle the criminal investigation and will follow up on a number of steps it has already taken to ensure that it no longer delays responding to possible safety problems. That includes setting up rapid-response teams to quickly investigate customer concerns.

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The settlement comes just as the Justice Department begins an investigation into General Motors’ handling of a recall involving defective ignition switches that have been linked to at least 12 deaths.

“When car owners get behind the wheel, they have a right to expect that their vehicle is safe,” said Holder, during a news conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday morning. “Toyota violated that basic compact.”

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Toyota Set to Pay $1 Bil to Settle With US Justice Dept.

Feds end one criminal probe as they launch another targeting GM.

by on Mar.19, 2014

Toyota recalled over 10 million vehicles due to potential unintended acceleration problems.

Toyota is expected to pay $1 billion to settle a criminal investigation launched by the U.S. Justice Department into how the maker handled recalls linked to its problems with unintended acceleration nearly five years ago.

Both the Justice Dept. and the FBI had been looking to see whether the Japanese giant had intentionally misled federal safety regulators after it began receiving complaints that some of its vehicles could surge out of control unexpectedly. The automaker eventually recalled more than 10 million vehicles in the U.S. and millions more worldwide. It has also spent billions more to settle various lawsuits and to repair those vehicles.

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The settlement comes just as the Justice Dept. ramps up a preliminary investigation into how General Motors has handled the recall of 1.6 million vehicles equipped with faulty ignition switches. That service action – now linked to at least 12 deaths – was announced just last month, but an internal GM timeline indicates the maker first saw indications of the problem as early as 2001.

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Toyota Recalling 1.9 Mil Prius Hybrids

Maker cites faulty software.

by on Feb.12, 2014

About 700,000 Prius hybrids sold in the U.S. are covered by the maker's latest recall.

Toyota is recalling 1.9 million Prius Hybrid sedans sold around the world between 2009 and 2014 due to faulty software that could cause the vehicle to stop unexpectedly.

More than a third of the vehicles, 713,000 in all, were sold in the United States, where the Prius has long been the best-selling hybrid in the market. Nearly half, or 917,000 will be recalled in Japan where the Prius has routinely been the best-selling vehicle of all kinds.  The rest of the cars affected by the recall were sold in Europe and other parts of the world.

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Toyota says it has received no reports of injuries or accidents related to the problem. But the risk is that an accident could occur if one of the hybrids were to unexpectedly stall while on the road.

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Toyota Pays $29 Mil for Poorly-Handled Recalls

Settles with 29 states for delayed response to unintended acceleration problems.

by on Feb.15, 2013

The Lexus RX400h was covered by the latest unintended acceleration safety recall.

In the latest development involving Toyota’s problems with so-called unintended acceleration, the maker has agreed to pay $29 million as part of a settlement with the attorneys-general in 29 states while also improving the way it handles future recalls.

The automaker will also set aside another $5 million to help reimburse owners of various Toyota Motor Co. products who were affected by those recalls to cover costs for rental cars, taxi rides and other replacement transportation.

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Toyota has already paid a series of record fines levied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a result of its handling of recalls linked to a series of problems that could cause its vehicles to surge out of control. Since the first of those recalls – involving issues such as carpet entrapment and sticky accelerators – was launched in 2009, more than 10 million vehicles have been affected.

“Car buyers deserve the assurance that manufacturers will quickly and appropriately respond to known safety risks,” Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said. “The terms of this settlement require that Toyota make changes to improve its responsiveness to safety issues, and that benefits consumers.”

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Toyota Settles First of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

by on Jan.22, 2013

Toyota has begun to settle at least some wrongful injury and death claims rather than drag the fight out.

Toyota Motor Co. is pushing to settle a series of wrongful death lawsuits in which the plaintiffs appear to have a solid chance of proving to a jury that unintended acceleration-related design flaws contributed to the accidents.

The company maintains stuck floor mats and driver error are the reasons for vehicles unexpectedly surging out of control, while plaintiffs’ attorneys contend Toyota’s electronic throttle control system is to blame.

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In the first critical step, Toyota has elected to settle a wrongful death suit in Utah. The company said Thursday that it came to terms with the family of two people killed in a Utah crash that was set to go to trial next month and might have served as a test case for hundreds of other lawsuits that are pending.

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Toyota Poised to Settle Injury and Death Lawsuits

Maker could put Unintended Acceleration issue behind.

by on Jan.16, 2013

Toyota may soon settle at least some wrongful injury and death claims rather than drag the fight out in court.

Toyota appears to be moving towards settling two high-profile unintended acceleration lawsuits in a bid to put the embarrassing issue to rest – and avoid having potentially damaging go before juries, according to a new report.

The maker announced a tentative, $1.2 billion settlement late last month with a group of owners who had sued alleging the unintended acceleration scandal had reduced the value of their vehicles. But that agreement – since given tentative approval by a federal job in Southern California – did not cover wrongful death and injury cases.

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At least some of those would be covered under a new settlement, said the Los Angeles Times, including two deaths in a horrific 2010 crash in Utah. The world’s largest automaker still faces more than 300 sudden acceleration lawsuits in state and federal courts.

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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.”

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Toyota Reaches $1 Bil Deal in Runaway Cars Case

Deal closes 100s of cases -- but 100s more still unresolved.

by on Dec.27, 2012

Lexus agreed to a record fine this month for delaying the recall of the RX crossover due to unintended acceleration issues.

Toyota Motor Co. has reached a more than $1 billion settlement intended to put an end to 100s of lawsuits stemming from the maker’s problems with unintended acceleration. But Toyota still faces a separate series of lawsuits from those who claim to have been injured by runaway vehicles.

The proposed settlement specifically covers lawsuits filed by owners who alleged that the value of their cars, trucks and crossovers had plummeted substantially as a result of the crisis triggered by a series of revelations and recalls that eventually involved more than 14 million Toyota products worldwide.

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The maker said it also will launch an extended warranty program covering 16 million current owners while also installing additional safety technology on 3.2 million of its vehicles. But in light of other recent recalls that have involved millions more Toyota products it remains unclear if the settlement will be enough to repair the Japanese giant’s once shining image.

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