Toyota acceleration cases

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by JamesBurke, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. JamesBurke

    JamesBurke Senior Member

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    Judge finalizing deal in Toyota acceleration cases

    SANTA ANA (AP) -- A California judge said Friday that he's finalizing a settlement worth more than $1 billion in cases where motorists say the value of their Toyota vehicles plunged after recalls over claims they unexpectedly accelerated.

    Judge finalizing deal in Toyota acceleration cases - Chico Enterprise Record

    Wondered what was going on with this. New to me (AP Posted: 07/19/2013 03:02:23 PM PDT)
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    funny how it's old news.:rolleyes:
     
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  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    So I'm expecting to see a letter saying,"Your part of the lost Prius value is a credit for $$$ on your purchase of a new Toyota car."

    They'll stop at nothing to try and pry the keys of our 2003 Prius from my cold, dead hand!

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. kbeck

    kbeck Active Member

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    Got one of the letters from this crowd. My wife happens to own a Sienna in the affected class.

    So, if you've got a Toyota, non-Prius, fly-by-wire car:
    1. Some of the cars get a brake override widget. (I guess these count as "winners".)
    2. For the owners of the rest of the cars that are members of the class, one gets a cash reward. The amount of the award varies, some getting as much as a couple hundred bucks, others around $50 or so. I don't think any of these are "coupons for the next time one buys a Toyota".
    Toyota, of course, claims in the settlement papers that Nothing Is Wrong, the idea is that they're doing this to save money. However, I find it curious that we're talking a billion or so here. That's not chump change, even for a company like Toyota.

    My conclusion: there may not be any "there" there, but Toyota is seriously afraid of losing in court. Maybe the lawyers have a lot of victims on hand willing to testify. On some of these cars, after the news debacle, there's been a new brake override widget designed and in production on newer versions of those cars, so they're retrofitting these widgets into the cars that can accept them since (a) they probably don't cost that much in volume and (b) cheaper or at least a wash as compared to sending a check. The negotiations must have been wonderful to watch.. But, really, it's not just sending checks, they really are modifying the cars.
    Everybody else gets cash, since the (a) the lawyers get a cut and (b) no available modules anyway.

    KBeck.
     
  5. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    The lawyers' "cut" is $200 million - that's the main reason the class action suit was brought.

    From a news report:

    One Pennsylvania couple said the fee request reminded them of John Grisham's novel The Litigators. "As a class member there is little else of value to me—the pool of ‘Finley, Figg & Zinc-type' legal firms appear to be suckling at the bar on this case, leaving just crumbs for the class," Henry Senatore wrote on behalf of himself and his wife in a March 19 letter to the court. "It's quite distasteful to need to be a member of the class in this obvious attempt to milk Toyota."

    Read more: Objections Mount to $1.6 Billion Toyota Settlement
     
  6. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    It is rather old news. The deal was announced a long time ago, details just needed to be worked out.
    Toyota's $1.6B unintended acceleration settlement approved - Autoblog

    We have definitely seen some of the wrong there. Toyota corporate suppressed information about defects that they knew about while continuing to sell cars. They paid fines to the US government, but not to the owners. They hired a regulator to talk other regulators out of requiring changes - a brake interlock system - that could have saved lives. The sooner toyota gets this behind them the better. There likely is more there there, then the corporate refusal to read car recorders in court. If they had done a mea culpa in 2007, the corporation would have saved over $10B dollars and some lives. Every year they leave these cases out there the worse it is for them, and the harder it is to put this behind them. $1.6B is really cheap, compared to fighting. Fighting often leads to cover ups that are discovered later. We know that $875M of the setlement is to put safety devices in cars, that would have had them in them if Toyota had not been fighting the NHTSA. We did see the toyota corporate documents about how a toyota employee was gleeful about how much money they saved by influencing the NHTSA to not require the interlock. Just 1 additional death from one of those cars could cause the damage to the company to go much higher.
     
  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    was it the factory mats which weren't fastened down, but couldn't interfere with the pedal, or the too long accellerator pedal that got stuck when people piled up non factory mats?
     
  8. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    Most of these settlements are a pure business decision. The company pays to have the bad publicity end.

    Lawyers do it for the money but they also bear the expense of administration and the expense of assembling the evidence. Not that any of that runs to $200M. I've been following a non-Toyota engine defect case that took years, class members get some which is more than they would get as individuals because they couldn't have assembled the evidence to win an individual case.
     
  9. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    The government fines were about Toyota covering up problems with the sticky pedals. The heart of one of toyota's problems was denying there were entrapment issues to the point where dealers thought nothing of doubling up matts. It fought the NHTSA on brake interlocks saying there was no entrapment. There are also suits about people losing money on cars because of the way toyota handled it, especially those that bought cars in 2009. Toyota's best recourse would have been during the apologies in 2010 to put in brake interlocks, mainly software. If they had done that it would have taken a lot of meat out of the case. Better would have been if Toyota had negotiated with good faith with the NHTSA and informed them of problems in a timely manner. Most of the settlement was anounced last december. The cost of the unintended acceleration fiasco has cost toyota over $10B. Most of those problems were user error, but some were toyota corporate and dealers fault. This gets rid of most of the suits, but there are still some personal injury suits that are not part of the class action.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i haven't been following, are people still having issues? every once in a blue moon, someone pops up here saying the prius went through the back of the garage while they had their foot on the brake or some such.
     
  11. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    I have not heard about problems continuing. Most people got scared enough by the media coverage to take their cars in to have pedals changed or modified. There are of course wrong pedal, but Toyota no longer statistically is much higher than other makers. I think those that have been harmed want toyota to fix the rest of the cars. The cost is very low compared to what will happen to toyota if they fight the repairs again, and another fatality happens.

    IMHO none of the big automakers are good corporate citizens. It is though a very bad move to fight the regulators then have people die. Toyota needs to not do that again. I hope with this settlement they put that behind them, and act as better corporate citizens in the US.
     
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    was it just the pedal, or did they find a sofware bug?
     
  13. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    There were problems with pedals designed to long - entrapment. There were problems with other pedals that did not return fast. Both problems could be solved by a brake interlock. When toyota was dealing with entrapment they covered up, or accidentally decided not to tell american regulators, the problems with the cts sticky pedals. At first they claimed that they were different cars because initial problems were reported in Europe, but the cars in Europe and america used the same parts. An employee at CTS that wanted the pedals redesigned leaked information to the media before toyota ever told regulators.

    In many cars a brake interlock achieved in software would have prevented accidents. In other cars hardware changes were necessary to make the cars safer.

    The software bug was found in gen III prius, but toyota did inform regulators of that as fast as the law required, and fixed that in a timely matter, and there were only reports of fender benders, not serious injuries from the bug. On the prius software bug it was the Japanese regulators that were loud about it.
     
  14. kbeck

    kbeck Active Member

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    Look: I'm an engineer. One of the things I do for a living is troubleshoot mixed hardware/software systems for faults. Sometimes the faults are in software, sometimes they're in hardware, sometimes it's mixed. Sometimes they're easy to find, some problems I'm still thinking and/or looking at after years and still haven't figured the root cause. Bugs in software/hardware are not easy, sometimes they're damned hard.

    Yeah, everybody from NASA on down has had a look at this stuff. It's wonderful, it's perfect, nothing could Ever Go Wrong. It's the carpets, it's bad maintenance, but, according to Toyota, it's Not The Design.

    I watched the congressional testimony of the woman who had a runaway car up in the midwest, her husband sitting next to her in support. I also heard people badmouth the messenger. Lots. She was stupid, they were trying to rook Toyota, the devil made her do it. And, I suppose, the sworn testimony of the wrecker who came to get the car and to whom the car took off on was just as wrong.

    If there's one thing I've learned over the years is that, excepting the really rare case of malice, customers tend to tell it like it happened. That bunch of testimony had all my alarm bells ringing.

    And the business of "you can't subpoena our records, we're a foreign company" did not go over well with me. Nor the rumors of hidden books detailing failures of cars from Japanese automakers.

    Yeah, NASA said they found nothing wrong. NHTSA seems to believe that it's a bunch of old people who don't know the difference between an accelerator and a brake. I don't believe that any sane Toyota engineer attempted to build an engine controller that could kill people. But, sometimes, shit happens.

    Like I said, a billion or so isn't chump change. In this case, it smells of an admission of guilt. Frankly, I wish the lawyers had gotten more: It's not that they're getting money, it's that they're hitting a corporation where it hurts, in their pocketbook. Think that an individual suing would have gotten this far? You're dreaming. Settlements like these are the whole point of a class-action lawsuit, allowing malfeasance by a large actor against a whole bunch of small fry to not go unpunished.

    What I really wish is that we had had a full-bore American-style trial, or at least a discovery phase, that dug into the internals of Toyota to find out when they knew what. If they reacted as quickly as could be reasonably be expected to an unknown, really-hard-to-find bug of the first water, fine. If they knew that their cars had a problem and decided to sacrifice lives rather than pay money to put in some kind of fix.. Then the individuals involved deserve jail time for manslaughter. But, with this settlement, we'll never know either way.

    KBeck.
     
  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    thank you everyone, i suppose it's difficult for 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999% of users to understand all this when they have never had a problem.
     
  16. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    I believe you had a prius and hybrid camry. You never had cts pedals. If it was a gen I camry or gen II prius you had the pedals that on rare cases would be entrapped, again, statistically not likely, but its bad if it happens to you.

    I experienced the software but in my gen III brakes, again, only happened in 2009 built gen IIIs and many did not experience this problem. Toyota did though first deny the problem, then fixed it. IMHO they fixed it in a timely manner, but I do not know if they would have if the Japanese government did not pressure them. It appears that the saylor incident never would have happened if the dealership that had given him the loaner car had not piled mats on top of each other. It also would have never happened if that same dealership responded to claims from the previous driver of unintended acceleration. IMHO Toyota created a climate of denial of the problem. If they had taken the NHTSA regulators seriously that car would have had a brake interlock, and the deaths would also have not happened. Three bad things needed to happen.
     
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i had two gen II's, never took them in for the pedal surgury, or the mat tiedowns. the stock mats never slid, and if you put them up under the pedal, there was still an inch of clearance. but i can understand how someone with 2 or 3 thick mats might have an issue.
     
  18. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    In a gen II prius, you don't have a real brake interlock, but the software would not have allowed what happened in Saylor's Lexus. Entrapped pedals were rare. In the gen II prius and gen I camry hybrid hitting the brakes with an entrapped accelerator would have likely had the software stop you. I think some tried this and software created an "soft" over ride. In the gen III prius there definitely is a "soft" override.

    If you want to remember how toyota got itself in trouble, here is a report before all the documents came to life

    The Toyota Recall Crisis - A chronology of the Toyota pedal, floormat recall - Motor Trend

    This was one of the most damaging
    Toyota had worked to throw out 1200 claims of unintended acceleration. Toyota finally in november 2009, admitted that those claims should have been investigated. Documents later showed how toyota had worked against the interests of the NHTSA
     
  19. Former Member 68813

    Former Member 68813 Senior Member

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    There was another highly damaging tidbit:

    Report: Toyota secretive about ‘black box’ crash data - Auto Motion : The Orange County Register

    I have no doubt, that rare software glitch issue was (is?) real, but was mostly blamed on pedal entrapment/user errors, as those obviously existed too and were probably more common.
     
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  20. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    This is how I see it:
    • CONFUSED BRAKE ACCELERATOR - 99.9% due to a systemic vehicle design flaw that puts the brake and accelerator controls adjacent to each other without a separator so only one foot controls accelerator and the other foot the brake. Mr. Google shows this cross-control happens across all makes and models and sometimes with fatal results. IMOH, steering should be foot/feet operated and no steering wheel. Acceleration and braking should be a single, hand control.
    • ACCELERATOR ENTRAPMENT - 00.099% due to the ability to have 'crap in the gap' either from floor mats or other debris. There was a mechanical problem with the NHW20s, a potential interference fit. When I was repairing NHW11 accelerator assemblies, I found one with a bent cam-follower that might have led to a run-away if not corrected.
    • BROKEN THROTTLE RETURN SPRING, ELECTRICAL PROBLEM - 00.001% this of course include ordinary carb equipped cars, the few that remain. It also includes one NASA documented case of tin-whiskers in a Camry Hybrid encoder. My accelerator rebuilding experience and a 'burn out' test supports the tin-whisker hypothesis.
    Bob Wilson
     
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