Toyota has issued a new vehicle recall for 200,000 vehicles due to a hybrid-system problem, and another 169,000 due to an engine bolt defect.
A spokeswoman for Toyota says that there have been no reports of injuries or deaths related to the latest vehicle recall.
The first recall, which involves 141,000 vehicles in the US and 15,000 vehicles in Japan, has to do with an inverter system in the hybrid Lexus RX400 and Highlander models, as well as the Japan-specific Harrier and Kluger hybrids.
According to Toyota, transistors in the hybrid SUVs can overheat, causing a warning that can result in the vehicle unexpectedly stopping while in operation.
The second involves the Lexus GS350, IS350, Crown and Mark X models, including 106,000 vehicles in North America and 59,000 vehicles in Japan. The second vehicle recall was issued because, reportedly, the bolts can loosen, causing the engine to stall.
Toyota’s Reputation Tarnished by Delays in Past Vehicle Recalls
Although the Japanese automobile manufacturer has made efforts to issue more timely recalls and test their vehicles more thoroughly, the company’s reputation has been tarnished by personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that were finally settled in June of this year.
In 2009 and 2010, Toyota issued three massive vehicle recalls for more than 10 million vehicles after repeated reports of unintended acceleration that led to owner injuries and death.
The first massive crash was in August 2009, when off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor and his family are traveling down Highway 125 when the Lexus ES350 accelerates out of control. A desperate 911 call reveals that the car is traveling more than 100 mph and has “no brakes.” The vehicle then crashes into another car, careens down an embankment, and catches fire. All four of the vehicle’s occupants die in the crash.
Toyota investigated the crash, and claimed the fault was with the floor mats. However, an article later published in the Los Angeles Times revealed that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) had investigated 9 separate reports of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles in the past decade. While two involve mis-sized floor mats, one involved a trim piece in a Sienna minivan, and six were dismissed due to lack of evidence. The article also claimed that hundreds of complaints had been filed with the government about the acceleration problem, and that at least five additional accidents involving fatalities had been caused by some underlying problem in Toyota’s vehicles.
Toyota continued to deny that any defect in the engine or electrical system existed, but in October 2009, they finally issued a vague vehicle recall notice to Toyota owners, alerting them that the issue would be fixed at dealerships soon.
Finally, after a terrible accident in Texas in December 2009, in which all four occupants died, the floor mats were ruled out as the cause of the uncontrolled acceleration, because the vehicle’s owner had put the floor mats in the vehicle’s trunk as instructed.
Toyota and the NHTSA come to an agreement that Toyota will issue vehicle recalls for all affected models and stop selling the vehicles. The company finally, in 2010, began earnest vehicle recalls for models affected by faulty electrical systems that caused uncontrollable acceleration in their vehicles.
Finally, in June of this year, Toyota agreed to pay $1.1 billion settlement, the largest in vehicle recall lawsuit history. The vehicle recall settlement includes $757 million in cash, and $875 million in “non-monetary benefits” to current or former Toyota owners. The “non-monetary benefits” include installation of brake overrides in eligible vehicles.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Vehicle Recall Personal Injury Cases
If you have experienced a problem with a defective product in your automobile, especially if a defective part has led to an auto accident or personal injury, and a proper vehicle recall notice has not been issued, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We can help you with complicated auto insurance claims, and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve to help you with lost income and medical bills. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today at (803) 252-4800.