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November 14, 2016

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Toyota pays US$3.4b for class suit

TOYOTA Motor Corp has agreed to a settlement of up to US$3.4 billion for a federal class action brought by US owners of pickup trucks and SUVs whose frames could rust through, plaintiffs lawyers have said.

The proposed settlement covers about 1.5 million Tacoma compact pickups, Tundra full-size pickups and Sequoia SUVs alleged to have received inadequate rust protection that could lead to corrosion serious enough to jeopardize their structural integrity, according to court papers.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in court papers backing the settlement estimated the value of frame replacements at about US$3.38 billion based on a cost of about US$15,000 per vehicle and the inspections at about US$90 million at US$60 per vehicle.

Toyota admitted no liability or wrongdoing in the proposed settlement filed on Wednesday before US District Judge Fernando Olguin in Los Angeles.

“We want our customers to have a great ownership experience, so we are pleased to resolve this litigation in a way that benefits them and demonstrates that we stand behind the quality and reliability of our vehicles,” Toyota said in a statement.

Under the settlement terms, Toyota will inspect the vehicles for 12 years from the day they were first sold or leased to see whether frames need to be replaced at company expense and reimburse owners who previously paid for frame replacement.

The settlement reached on October 31 covers Tacoma trucks from the model years 2005 through 2010, Sequoias from 2005 through 2008 and Tundras from the 2007 and 2008 model years.

Toyota also agreed to pay US$9.75 million in attorneys’ fees, US$150,000 in costs and expenses, and US$2,500 each to the named eight class representatives.


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