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Toyota Announces Largest Global Vehicle Recall In 16 Years

It took four years, but Toyota Motor Corp. managed to return to the top of the global automobile manufacturing mountain, as the company expects to sell approximately 9.7 million vehicles in 2012. Toyota fell from grace with consumers in 2008 and 2009 after the company announced a number of recalls that ended up involving more than 11 million vehicles, including the immensely popular Camry and Corolla models because of issues leading to unintended acceleration.

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Continued Complaints, Incomplete Studies Indicate Toyota’s Unintended Acceleration Risks Remain

Last year we saw one of the biggest, and most controversial, issues in recent automotive safety history with Toyota and reports of sudden unintended acceleration.  Toyota blamed car mats, gas pedal moisture, and even driver error for the eruption of unintended acceleration incidents. Numerous deaths, injuries, and fines are alleged in various lawsuits to have been caused by this vehicle issue, and from November 2009 to February 2011, Toyota carried out a worldwide recall of 14 million vehicles.

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Toyota Lawsuit Over Death Of 4 Results in $10 million Settlement

According to an MSNBC article, “Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay $10 million to the family of four people killed in a runaway Lexus crash that led to recalls of millions of the automaker’s vehicles.”

MSNBC reports that Toyota refused to admit or deny legal responsibility and “fought to keep the settlement amount confidential.” However, the news source explains “the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press argued that the public’s interest in the case outweighed confidentiality concerns,” and the sum was disclosed.

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After Handling Of Recalls, Toyota To Pay $32.4 Million In Fines

CNN reports that “Toyota has agreed to pay more than $32 million in penalties after two federal investigations that faulted the Japanese automaker for its handling of recent auto recalls.” This announcement came from the U.S. Transportation Department this past Monday.

According to CNN, the Transportation Department announced these fines “are the steepest allowed by law.” The news source explains the two fines add up to $32.4 million, with one at $16.375 million and the other totaling $16.05 million.

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Latest Toyota Issue Might Further Hurt Company

A CNN article reports Toyota Motor Co. recently announced a “limited service campaign” that will fix cooling pumps on around 378,000 North American Prius hybrid vehicles.  John Hanson, a spokesman for the car manufacturer, was careful to explain that this latest setback “is not considered a safety issue,” CNN reports.

However, this latest announcement is just another delay in Toyota’s attempt to repair their image after the rash of negative publicity over braking and acceleration problems in their vehicles. 

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Judge Rules Toyota Must Face Class-Action Suits

A U.S. judge has ruled that Toyota Motor Corp. must face the class-action lawsuits car owners have filed against the company, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. This decision finalizes “a tentative ruling issued Nov. 19,” the article explains.

U.S. District Judge James V. Selna made the ruling, rejecting Toyota’s request to have the case dismissed, Bloomberg reports. The car company sought this dismissal by claiming “the plaintiffs failed to plead specific losses or identify an actual defect,” according to the news source.

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Toyota Recall Adds Lexus GX460 Amid Reports of Rollover Dangers

In a continuation of Toyota’s recent spate of bad news, the world’s leading automobile manufacturer recently announced a recall of the Lexus GX 460 Luxury SUV. This recall was necessitated by a high risk of rollover.

The issue with the SUV was first identified by Consumer Reports magazine after it issued the publication’s first “Don’t Buy” rating to a vehicle since 2001. The high risk of rollover and injury was caused by bad software in the SUV’s Vehicle Stability Control system.

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Toyota Lawsuits Have Insurance Companies Examining Past Accident Claims

Since September 2009, Toyota has recalled approximately 9 million vehicles. Of these recalled vehicles, an estimated 8.5 million were recalled due to driver complaints and reports of unintended acceleration. Insurance companies such as Allstate, State Farm, Geico, and others have recently determined to review previous accident claims involving these recalled Toyota vehicles. By reviewing past accident claims, insurers hope to identify those accidents involving recalled Toyota vehicles in which drivers cited sudden acceleration as the cause of the accident.

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