April 8, 2013 by Canadian Underwriter
Toyota Motor Corporation has agreed to pay $16 million to settle consumer protection claims brought by the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) following the automaker’s recalls of certain vehicles in 2009 and 2010 related to unintended acceleration issues.
The recalls affected almost 6 million vehicles as a result of “the risk of unintended acceleration caused by floor mat and ‘sticky’ gas pedal issues,” notes a statement last Friday from OCDA Tony Rackauckas.
The settlement with Toyota and its related North American entities revolves around allegations the company concealed safety issues related to unintended acceleration in violation of California consumer protection laws, Rackauckas reports.
Saying the possibility of experiencing an unintended acceleration event scared many consumers, the “settlement is an important step in holding Toyota accountable for the safety and security of their customers,” he says. In addition, the office brought the action “to ensure that Toyota is transparent about safety issues and fully complies with the law in the future.”
As part of the settlement, $8 million will be designated for use by the Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership, $4 million will be paid to the OCDA to cover costs and fees, and the remainder will be paid to the OCDA to fight economic crime.
“As we continue to turn the page on legacy legal issues related to our past recalls, we are pleased to have resolved these allegations in a way that supports the communities where our customers live and work,” Christopher Reynolds, group vice president and general counsel, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, Inc., and chief legal officer, notes in a company statement.
Floor mat and “sticky pedal” issues have been addressed with effective and durable solutions, Reynolds reports. “We remain focused on continuously enhancing our quality assurance operations and strengthening our ability to meet customer expectations, and we are grateful for their continued support.”