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New Lawsuit Alleges Toyota Secretly Re-purchased Defective Cars From Owners

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On: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 9:35AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

New Lawsuit Alleges Toyota Secretly Re-purchased Defective Cars From Owners

A revised lawsuit is claiming that Toyota Motor Corp. secretly purchased defective automobiles from consumers in order to cover-up problems with unintended acceleration and hide the facts from federal safety regulators and the public. According to the amended class action suit, Toyota allegedly asked customers to agree NOT to disclose any details regarding the problems with Toyota vehicles, and to refrain from suing Toyota, in exchange for the buy-back arrangement.

Automotive News.com: “The new complaint also cites internal company records documenting instances in which Toyota technicians or service managers replicated speed-control problems like those reported by customers.” Alleged records also reveal that there was at least one incidence of unintended acceleration that was obscured to avoid federal safety regulators from finding out about it.

The suit, filed on Wednesday in United States District Court in Santa Ana California, is a 700-page document compiled with hundreds of attached exhibits. The case has been building since last year, as a result of dozens of economic losses reported by consumers, as well as businesses, who claim the losses resulted from decreased resale values of Toyota vehicles that allegedly sped out of control.

Toyota agreed that the company did purchase problematic vehicles, but it stated that the purpose was to study the problems from a mechanical perspective. Toyota also stated the company was never able to replicate the "acceleration concerns nor found any related issues or conditions in these vehicles.”

The lawsuit is based on the allegation that Toyota failed to report evidence of problems with vehicles manufactured over the past 10 years that reportedly sped out of control, and that the company did not install a “brake override system” that could have prevented accidents resulting in injury and death.

Brian Lyons, Toyota spokesman, states that customers who sold their vehicles back to Toyota were NOT asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Consumers are stating that confidentiality reports were in fact required, but no evidence of such required documents have as of yet been attached as evidence in the court case, as attorney Steve Berman stated, “consumers told us about them.”

Lyons stated that the vehicles that were bought back from consumers were subject to state lemon laws, and that some of the vehicles were purchased at the request of Toyota, NOT the consumer. The amount paid for the defective Toyota vehicles was not disclosed.

The only factor that Toyota attributes to unintended acceleration is ill-fitting floor mats and sticky gas pedals. So far there are no formal findings of a defective electronic throttle system, as the lawsuit suggests, from Toyota or the Federal safety regulators.

The newly revised lawsuit challenges Toyota’s statements, pointing to some of the company's internal communications, including those in which Toyota technicians said they had reproduced engine surges like those reported by consumers, but the exact cause of such unintended acceleration was not discovered.

The revised lawsuit also states that, in some instances, in Hong Kong cases of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles that were tested by the company, sticky gas pedals and faulty floor mats were ruled out.

So the saga continues; to find out more about the outcome of the lawsuit, stay tuned to the Auto Shopper.



Captain Larry1 | 3:29PM (Mon, Nov 1, 2010)

Toyota may be getting a bad rap for all the recalls but it is still the most reliable car I have ever owned

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