Toyota Announces $29-Million Settlement To Help Close Recalls Chapter


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    Toyota Logo Picture

    Toyota on Thursday announced a $29-million settlement to "resolve issues related to recalls conducted by the company from 2005-'10." | February 14, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Toyota on Thursday announced a $29-million settlement to "resolve issues related to recalls conducted by the company from 2005 to 2010."
  • Toyota said it has reached a settlement agreement with the Attorneys General of 29 states and American Samoa, one U.S. territory.
  • "This settlement means Toyota has nearly closed the book on this ugly chapter of its history and the settlement isn't terribly painful for the automaker," said Michelle Krebs, Edmunds senior analyst.

NEW YORK — Toyota on Thursday announced a $29-million settlement to "resolve issues related to recalls conducted by the company from 2005-'10," as the Japanese automaker takes another step to move past the biggest safety crisis in company history.

Toyota said it has reached a settlement agreement with the Attorneys General of 29 states and American Samoa, one U.S. territory.

"This settlement means Toyota has nearly closed the book on this ugly chapter of its history and the settlement isn't terribly painful for the automaker," said Michelle Krebs, Edmunds senior analyst. "The $29 million isn't a huge amount for the company, which admits no guilt or wrongdoing as part of the agreement. Yet the settlement allows Toyota to move forward at a time when it is introducing a tremendous number of new models."

Toyota is getting set to launch such new products as the 2014 Toyota Tundra.

The $29 million will not be heading directly into the hands of consumers, said Mike Michels, a Toyota spokesman, in a phone conversation with Edmunds on Thursday.

"The 29 million is going to various states," Michels said. "It isn't going to consumers. It's going to state treasuries. It's not a fine, per se, but a settlement. However, we have agreed to continue amenities, including reimbursing (consumers) for rental cars, towing and taxis, most of which has been incurred. The reimbursement (for that) could be as much as $5 million on top of the $29 million."

He said that consumers who have vehicles included in Toyota recalls would need to call or contact Toyota's customer service line and have receipts. Toyota can be reached at (310) 331-4331. The number for Lexus is (800) 255-3987.

The list of states covered by the $29-million settlement will be published at Pressroom.Toyota.com.

This latest Toyota settlement does not cover wrongful death suits, Michels noted. Those will be tried case by case.

When asked to characterize the $29-million settlement, Michels said: "This is the next step in turning the page on a lot of these things."

Toyota said in a statement it has committed to "take steps to make vehicle information more easily accessible to consumers to help them operate their vehicles safely and make more informed choices."

"Resolving this inquiry is another step we are taking to turn the page on legacy issues from Toyota's past recalls in a way that benefits our customers," said Christopher P. Reynolds, Toyota Motors Sales U.S.A. group vice president and general counsel, in a statement.

In late December, Toyota agreed to spend $1.1 billion to settle sweeping U.S. class-action litigation over claims that millions of its vehicles accelerate unintentionally. The $29 million is part of the December settlement, Toyota said.

The settlement will compensate customers for economic losses related to possible safety defects in Toyota vehicles, covering most of the litigation involving unintended acceleration, although it does not cover claims for wrongful death or injuries.

Edmunds says: This chapter in Toyota's history is not yet completely put to rest. It will be interesting to watch the progress of the wrongful-death and injury cases through the court system.

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