State and Toyota agree on $29 million settlement

February 19, 2013 in Top Stories

From The Mississippi Link Newswire

JACKSON – Attorney General Jim Hood joined 29 other states in announcing a $29 million settlement with Toyota Motor Corporation and its related North America entities over allegations Toyota concealed safety issues related to unintended acceleration.

Mississippi and 29 other states have settled with Toyota in a $29 million settlement over allegations Toyota concealed safety issues related to unintended acceleration.

Toyota agreed to pay $29 million to settle consumer protection claims and has agreed to provide additional restitution and incentives to vehicle owners to promote compliance with unintended acceleration safety recalls. As a result of the settlement, Mississippi will receive $561,288.60 and Toyota will be restricted from advertising the safety of vehicles without sound engineering data to back such safety claims.

The states are alleging that Toyota engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it failed to timely disclose known safety defects with accelerator pedals.

“Our investigation led us to determine poor communication between Toyota’s nerve center in Japan and Toyota’s United States holdings were partially responsible for Toyota’s failure to report known safety issues in a timely manner,” said Attorney General Hood.

During the settlement negotiations, the attorneys general placed emphasis on ensuring changes in the corporate culture and corporate chain of command to enhance Toyota’s

responsiveness to regulatory agencies in the United States. As a result, Toyota has agreed to significantly change the safety culture within the company’s United States operations.

Toyota will ensure that officials and officers of its United States operations have timely access to information and the authority to fully participate in all decisions affecting the safe operation of Toyota vehicles advertised and sold in the United States. The requested culture and chain of command changes will also improve safety issue related communication between Toyota’s holdings in the United States and Toyota’s other global holdings.

In addition, the settlement provides that Toyota is:

  • Prohibited from reselling a vehicle it reacquired with alleged safety defects without informing the purchaser about the alleged defect(s) and certifying that the reacquired vehicle has been fixed,
  • Prohibited from misrepresenting the purpose of an inspection or repair when directing consumers to bring their vehicles to a dealer for inspection or repair, and
  • Required to exclude from the “Toyota Certified Used Vehicles” or “Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles” categories any vehicle acquired through lemon law proceedings or voluntarily repurchased by Toyota to ensure customer satisfaction.

For restitution, or to have questions answered, consumers can call: Toyota – 1-800-331-4331 or Lexus – 1-800-255-3987.