Sunday, January 3, 2010
L.A. Times Investigation Claims Toyota Has Been Keeping a Lid on Potential Safety Problems
In the wake of Toyota's recent recall of a record 4.26 million vehicles in the United States because the gas pedal can get stuck in the floor mats and cause sudden acceleration, the Los Angeles Times has posted an article that portrays the Japanese automaker as a company that has habitually delayed or even covered up safety recalls and tried to put the blame on human error in cases where owners claimed vehicle defects.
The lengthy LA Times story investigates several cases going back almost a decade and examines how Toyota has dealt with recalls that concern safety issues in recent years.
Among the cases reported is a "dangerous steering defect in vehicles including the 4Runner" that was allegedly known by Toyota for years before a recall was issued in Japan in 2004, while it took the company another year or so to address the problem in the States, despite "having received dozens of complaints from drivers."
The newspaper notes that Toyota tried to avoid problems by paying cash settlements to people who claimed "their vehicles went out of control, sometimes causing serious accidents", according to consumers and their lawyers.
The LA Times report also finds that the sudden acceleration issue is not a new one and that it has been around for nearly a decade as a computerized search of NHTSA records found that Toyota has issued a total of eight recalls in relation to this problem since the beginning of 2000.
To its defense, Toyota sent a written statement to the newspaper saying that it has done its best to keep government officials and consumers informed about any potential safety problems with its vehicles.
"Toyota has absolutely not minimized public awareness of any defect or issue with respect to its vehicles," the company told the LA Times.
You can check out the complete LA Times story by clicking the link below.
Source: LA Times - Thanks for the tip Obsidian!