(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Attorney General Mike DeWine today joined 29 other states in announcing a $29 million settlement with Toyota Motor Corporation and its related North American entities over allegations Toyota concealed safety issues related to unintended acceleration. Ohio, a lead state in the investigation, will receive just over $1.7 million as a result of this settlement.
"When it comes to our vehicles, safety is the most important factor," DeWine said. "This settlement will help better protect those on Ohio's roads by ensuring greater communication within Toyota and more timely notification of the public if safety issues arise with its products."
Toyota has agreed to pay $29 million to settle consumer protection claims and to provide vehicle owners additional restitution and incentives to promote compliance with unintended acceleration safety recalls. Toyota will be restricted from advertising the safety of vehicles without sound engineering data to support such safety claims.
Ohio's total payment of $1,704,111.58 will go to the Consumer Protection Enforcement Fund to promote consumer protection efforts in the state. Ohio also will receive a Bosch Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) System, which provides pre-crash vehicle information from Toyota vehicles involved in crashes. Attorney General DeWine will provide the CDR system to the Ohio Department of Public Safety to help investigate accidents involving Toyota vehicles.
The settlement has been presented to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court for approval, along with a filed complaint in which the states allege Toyota engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it failed to timely disclose known safety defects with accelerator pedals.
The investigating state Attorneys General determined that poor communication between Toyota in Japan and Toyota's U.S. holdings was partially responsible for Toyota's failure to timely report known safety issues. During settlement negotiations, the States emphasized changes in the corporate culture and chain of command to enhance Toyota's responsiveness to regulatory agencies in the United States.
As a result, Toyota has agreed to significantly change the safety culture within the company's U.S. operations. Toyota will ensure that officials and officers of its U.S. operations have timely access to information and the authority to participate fully in all decisions affecting the safe operation of Toyota vehicles advertised and sold in the United States.
The requested changes also will improve safety-related communication between Toyota's U.S. holdings and Toyota's other global holdings. The state Attorneys General believe the agreed changes will allow the company to address safety concerns with improved responsiveness.
Under the settlement, Toyota also is:
Prohibited from reselling a vehicle it reacquired with alleged safety defects without informing the purchaser about the alleged defect(s) and certifying that the reacquired vehicle has been repaired;
Prohibited from misrepresenting the purpose of an inspection or repair when directing consumers to bring their vehicles to a dealer for inspection or repair; and
Required to exclude from the "Toyota Certified Used Vehicles" or "Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles" categories any vehicle acquired through lemon law proceedings or voluntarily repurchased by Toyota to ensure customer satisfaction.
Consumers can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 and Lexus at 800-255-3987 for more information.
In addition to Ohio, participating in today's settlement are the following states and U.S. territory: Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Dan Tierney -- 614-466-3840
Mark Moretti -- 614-466-3840