A putative class action has been filed against Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. in a California court. It’s alleged in the suit that Toyota knew of a defect in its Camry models that causes the cars’ air conditioning system to become ineffective, leading to mold buildup and foul odors that can cause health problems in drivers. The lead Plaintiffs claimed in their complaint that the automaker’s 2012 Camry models have a “uniform and widespread defect” in the heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems that causes emissions of noxious and foul odors from the growth of mold in the system. The automaker knew about the defect prior to the sale of the vehicles, the suit said. The complaint alleged:
Defendant has actively concealed and failed to disclose this defect to plaintiff and class members at the time of their purchase or lease of the class vehicles and thereafter.
The HVAC system in the affected Camry models contains one or more design or manufacturing defects that causes the emissions of the bad odors from the mold, according to the suit. Exposure to mold and its related smells is “extremely dangerous” and can lead to sickness, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing and other health problems, the suit said. The complaint claimed the mold emanating from the HVAC system in the 2012 Camry vehicles grows on a part known as the evaporator, which is located inside the car dashboard. When cold refrigerant passes into the evaporator, it absorbs heat from the air in the passenger compartment and collects moisture from condensation, which creates a favorable growing condition for mold, the suit alleged.
It’s alleged in the suit that when a consumer complains of the mold build-up in his or her Camry, Toyota “merely replaces” the defective HVAC components with the very same components, and doesn’t repair the defect, in violation of warranty. Toyota knew, or should have known, about the defect as early as 1997, but instead, it’s alleged that the automaker “actively concealed” the defect and didn’t inform consumers. Toyota had “already offered” previous model year Camry vehicles that had similar HVAC systems and acknowledged the defects as early as 1997 and as recently as 2009, according to allegations in suit. The complaint asked the court to certify a class of California purchasers of 2012 Camry vehicles The suit is in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.
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