Toyota’s $1.2 billion settlement sets standard for automakers and model for GM investigation

Toyota’s $1.2 billion settlement sets standard for automakers and model for GM investigation

More than four years after its massive recall targeting accelerator, brake and floor mat issues, Toyota reached an unprecedented $1.2 billion settlement with the Justice Department. The investigation began in 2010 to determine if Toyota withheld safety information from both government officials and consumers.

To protect its image, Toyota made ambiguous statements to its customers and didn’t properly report the issues with unintended acceleration in certain models to the authorities. As a result, an undisclosed amount of deaths occurred, prompting hundreds of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits.

The case similarities between Toyota and the recent General Motors recall represent how corporate fraud from the automaker industry can potentially kill its consumer.

In February, GM recalled 1.6 million cars, citing faulty ignition switches that caused the vehicles’ engines to turn off while in motion and disable airbags, power brakes and power steering, posing deadly threats to drivers and passengers. Like Toyota, the recall occurred years after the problems were discovered and resulted in unnecessary loss of life.

After at least 12 deaths and 31 accidents, investigations from the government and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are beginning for GM. The issues with the detent plunger, a piece inside the ignition to hold the key in place, were detected more than a decade ago yet no official report was made.

Other safety watchdog groups report more than 300 accidents are linked to the recalled vehicles.

If you or a loved one were in an accident involving one of the recalled vehicles below, contact us immediately. We may be able to help.

Vehicles included in the recall:

  • Chevrolet Cobalts, 2005 to 2007
  • Chevrolet HHRs, 2006 to 2007
  • Saturn Ion, 2003 to 2007
  • Saturn Sky, 2007
  • Pontiac Solstice, 2006 to 2007
  • Pontiac G5
  • Pontiac Pursuit

Footnotes

Apuzzo, M. & Vlasic, B. (2014). Toyota is fined $1.2 billion for concealing safety defects. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/business/toyota-reaches-1-2-billion-settlement-in-criminal-inquiry.html?_r=0

Ingram, D., Klayman, B. & Viswanatha, A. (2014). Toyota’s $1.2 billion settlement may be model for U.S. probe into GM. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/19/us-toyota-settlement-idUSBREA2I0VB20140319

Johnson, K. & Woodyeard, C. (2014). Toyota to pay $1.2B to settle criminal probe. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/03/19/toyota-settlement-unintended-acceleration/6595345/

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