After millions of recalled vehicles and several years of increased costs and bad press, Toyota executives believed that they finally had reason to celebrate with the release of a NASA study declaring that Toyota vehicles did not have electronic defects that caused sudden acceleration. Last week, however, the tables turned as Toyota announced yet another recall of more than 2 million additional vehicles.
Toyota has recalled more than 13 million vehicles in the United States since September 2009, with 10 million of the recalls addressing sudden acceleration. Yet despite its efforts to rectify the acceleration issues, Toyota is facing hundreds of product liability lawsuits based on injuries or deaths caused by the alleged vehicle defects, and analysts believe the latest recalls will only add to the Japanese automaker's liability.
The recalls come after an investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration into Toyota's initial acceleration-related recall. After reviewing almost half a million pages of internal and external documents, the NHTSA requested that Toyota initiate the latest recalls. After paying nearly $50 million in fines to the NHTSA for delaying recalls, it is presumed that Toyota acted quickly on the government requests in order to avoid additional fines.
Several vehicles are affected by the latest recalls, including the Lexus RX, LX and GS models and Toyota's RAV4, Highlander, and 4Runner SUVs. For some, including the Lexus LX, RAV4 and 4Runner, Toyota says that the company has not yet developed a fix for the sudden acceleration. For other models, repairs include replacing carpet trim panels and carpet padding.
If you have been injured as a result of a defective Toyota vehicle, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Toyota to recall 2.17 million more vehicles", Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, 25 February 2011