The State of Alabama will receive $641,995 as part of a $29 million settlement with Toyota Motor Corporation over safety concerns caused by unintended acceleration in some of the company’s vehicles. Attorney General Luther Strange announced Alabama’s involvement in the settlement last month. Under the settlement, Toyota also will be restricted when advertising the safety of its vehicles, unless reliable engineering data supports its safety claims. The New Jersey Attorney General led the multi-state investigations assisted by Attorneys General from Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington.
Alabama is among 29 states and one U.S. territory that will receive money from the settlement. The states alleged that Toyota engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it did not disclose in a timely manner safety defects with accelerator pedals. I am not sure who all will benefit from this settlement. I am told that car dealers are the main beneficiaries.
Toyota’s mass recall and sales stop on certain models hurt sales for dealers across Alabama and slowed output at the company’s engine factory in Huntsville. In 2010, Attorneys General across the country created a multi-state group to investigate Toyota’s business practices. It was determined that poor communication between Toyota’s headquarters in Japan and its U.S. offices were partially responsible for the company’s failure to report the safety issues. During settlement negotiations, the state Attorneys General asked that Toyota amend its corporate culture and improve communication within its chain of command in order to comply with U.S. regulatory agencies. Toyota agreed to change the safety culture of its U.S. operations to improve its responsiveness to safety concerns.
For one year, Toyota must consider customer requests for reimbursement and provide restitution on a case-by-case basis, according to the judgment. The settlement also prohibits Toyota from reselling vehicles with alleged safety defects without informing the purchaser and certifying that the vehicle has been fixed; prohibits the company from misrepresenting the purpose of an inspection or repair when directing consumers to bring their vehicles to a dealer for inspection or repair; and requires the company to exclude from its certified used vehicle programs any vehicle acquired through lemon law proceedings or voluntarily repurchased by Toyota to ensure customer satisfaction.
Source: The Birmingham News
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