Japanese carmaker Toyota has finally reached a settlement in a class action suit by Toyota owners claiming their vehicles can accelerate unintentionally.
The settlement is valued between $1.2billion and $1.4billion and is said to be the largest of its type in US history: both in terms of the number of vehicles involved and the amount of money that will be paid out. It will include direct payments to customers and the installation of a brake override system in 3.25million vehicles.
The case was originally filed back in 2010 but neither the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was able to find any defects that would cause the events that were being reported about unintentional acceleration. Indeed Toyota maintained that the vehicles were free from electronic flaws.
However, on the back of a series of lawsuits, Judge James Selna consolidated the cases in US District Court and this eventually led to settlement discussions.
Now under the terms of the settlement, Toyota will install a brake override system based on floor mat entrapment recalls (floor mat, pictured). It establishes a fund of $250million to be paid to former Toyota owners who sold vehicles from September 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010; as well as a separate $250million fund to compensate current owners with vehicles not eligible for the brake override system.
In addition, all 16million owners will be eligible for a customer care plan that will offer a warranty on certain parts.
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