Yet another recall has been announced by Toyota Motor Corporation. This recall involves 119,000 Avalon sedans of model years 2003 and 2004. It seems noise from other electrical components in the car sometimes damages the circuits of the air bag control module. This causes accidental deployment of airbags. The problem also leads to inadvertent tightening of the seat belt pretensioners, at times.
Toyota has had its share of recalls and defects. As we recently reported, Toyota has agreed to a $1.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in relation to the criminal charges for problems in accelerator pedals and floor mats of its cars, which have led to sudden acceleration and many crashes, some of which were deadly. This is the highest penalty imposed on any automaker and is 35 times higher than the maximum penalty the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can impose.
The automaker has also admitted to misleading customers about the problem. The investigation regarding the matter was started in February 2010, although Toyota has been aware of the problem since 2007. Toyota initially failed to recall cars with defective parts and continued to manufacture new cars using them even though they were aware of the safety risk associated with them. Toyota finally issued a recall of 8 models following a crash that killed an entire family, but failed to recall 3 other models with the same problem.
Toyota had paid $1.6 billion previously to settle a class action lawsuit related to sudden acceleration of cars. The company also incurred $1.1 billion during the recall of the affected vehicle. They suffered a loss of vehicle sales of about $880 million.
The company states they are not aware of any accidents due to the air bag control module problem, although there has been at least one report of an injury due to it, so far. Toyota has notified the owners of the recalled cars and dealers will attach an electrical noise filter to the air bag control module to fix the problem free of charge.
For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).