Since last September, Toyota Motor Corp. has issued safety recalls for nearly 9 million cars and trucks for a myriad of defects. Company officials testified on these issues and the company’s response to them last week on Capitol Hill.
The company’s response to these problems and when they knew about them is now the target of a federal criminal investigation. A federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York along with the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued subpoenas surrounding the situation. Investigators appear to be trying to determine how the company reacted to safety problems and if there were any attempts to cover them up or downplay their significance.
Over 8.5 million of the recalled vehicles came on the heels of driver complaints of their vehicles accelerating out of control. Another 400,000 2010 Prius and Lexus models have been recalled because of braking problems. The company is also considering a recall of the popular Corolla model due to complaints about steering.
In op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, company president and grandson of its founder Akio Toyoda issued an apology and gave assurances that his company would do a better job of responding to complaints.
“[I]t is clear to me that in recent years we didn’t listen as carefully as we should – or respond as quickly as we must – to our customers’ concerns,” Toyoda wrote. “While we investigated malfunctions in good faith, we focused too narrowly on technical issues without taking full account of how our customers use our vehicles.”
Over 60 lawsuits have been filed against the company, including over a dozen wrongful death and personal injury suits.
If you own one of the affected models, take it to your local Toyota dealer immediately to be looked at. And if you’ve been adversely affected by this or any defective automobile, please contact Denver personal injury attorney R. Mack Babcock today for a free consultation.