A recently-filed lawsuit alleges that Toyota knew about the sudden acceleration problems in its vehicles as far back as 2003, but concealed the defects from consumers and regulators. It is alleged that the Japanese automaker has gotten tens of thousands of complaints from consumers who say their cars suddenly speed out of control. The suit alleges that the electronic throttle is a cause of this unintended acceleration, and says that rather than disclosing the concern, Toyota “concealed the existence of this defect.” Internal documents revealed that Toyota also received evidence that the likelihood of unintended acceleration increase “substantially” in cars with electronic throttle systems.
The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status in the U.S. District Court in California, seeks to represent consumers and businesses that bought or leased Toyota vehicles manufactured in the U.S. that have an electronic throttle control system. Toyota has admitted that two mechanical issues cause sudden unintended acceleration:
Nevertheless, Toyota continues to defend the electronic throttle. The Plaintiffs contend in this case that Toyota should be held responsible for the drop in resale value in cars that are afflicted with this problem and that consumers and businesses should be allowed to return their defective cars to Toyota. “Toyota rejects claims that Plaintiffs suffered economic damages because of the recent recalls,” the company said. It’s also requested that Toyota install a brake override system in all cars with an electronic safety throttle and also pay a fine.
Internal Toyota documents reveal that some at the company were aware as far back as 2003 of the problem of unintended acceleration in cars the company made. In a revised Complaint against the automaker filed on August 2nd in U.S. District Court in California, the Plaintiffs’ attorneys say that in a 2003 field report a company technician wrote up a case of sudden, unintended acceleration. The author of this report requested immediate action due to the “extremely dangerous problem,” and said “we are also much afraid of frequency of this problem in near future.”
Sources: Washington Post and CNN
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