Toyota is in the midst of an absolute legal and public relations disaster as the result of its delay in responding to deadly defects in its cars and trucks which have apparently led to at least 34 deaths in the last decade. The problem is sudden acceleration, which has been blamed on floor mat interference and sticky gas pedals, but which many safety experts are attributing to the electronic systems in these vehicles. Toyota has recalled approximately 8.5 million cars, and supposedly repaired about 800,000 to date, but the company has run into two huge public relations and credibility nightmares. First, despite initially claiming that it first learned of the sudden acceleration problem last October, it is now known that a year earlier, in October of 2008, there was an issue with sticky pedals in Europe, particularly in Britain and Ireland. Toyota’s CEO for North America, Yoshimi Inaba, claimed that the company “Did not hide [the problem]…but it was not properly shared…with the United States to see if there was any danger to American consumers.” Sure seems like hiding the problem to this writer.
Second, the Congressional oversight committee found that Toyota had given a presentation that stated “Toyota safety wins”, noting that they had been able to save $100 million by convincing the government initially to allow them to recall floor mats on 55,000 Toyota Camry and Lexus ES 350 sedans rather than recalling the vehicles themselves. This past Tuesday, in testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, James E. Lentz, the president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., informed the committee that the ongoing repairs might “not totally” solve the sudden acceleration problem–certainly not exactly comforting words for Toyota owners nationwide.
To attempt to quell the growing swirl of controversy and anger at the delayed and insufficient response to their defective vehicles, Toyota has announced that they will commence at home pickups of vehicles, reimbursement of consumer’s transportation expenses and free rental cars while cars are being repaired. New York State’s Attorney General has started a website- www.NYToyota-Help.com to provide information about this program. Toyota has also announced that new models will allow brakes to override gas pedals in an added effort to solve the sudden acceleration issue.
Contact the Westchester County Dangerous Product Lawyers at The Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 if you have suffered an injury from a defective or dangerous product. We offer a free consulation with an experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive attorney to discuss the particulars of your case and how we can help obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries, lost earnings, medical expenses and loss of enjoyment of life.