In my mind, one thing that sets apart Toyota Motor Manufacturing Company from other automakers is their attention to detail and the general reliability of their products. As a Toyota Expert, Lexus Senior, and ASE Master certified technician for over ten years, I have personally maintained Toyota vehicles with over 500,000 miles on the clock.
I’ve also owned three Camry and one Corolla, all with over 300,000 miles, which is pretty good, considering Toyota builds their vehicles for a 250,000-mile lifespan. JD Power & Associates, for the most part, can confirm the reliability of these great vehicles, Toyota and Lexus stuck in the top five for a number of years.
On the other hand, there is another side to the Toyota story, which came to light in late 2005 and 2006, the sticking accelerator. A sticking accelerator is no laughing matter, and unfortunately, a few accidents and deaths were attributed to the fault.
Toyota recall campaigns have become the stuff of legend, and unfortunately there were some few who paid with their lives, which even led to a tearful testimony by Toyota President Akio Toyoda before a congressional hearing. Even those who weren’t affected directly by the recalls are shouting for reparations in a class action lawsuit, complaining that the recalls decreased the value of their Toyota, Lexus, and Scion vehicles.
Instead of dragging out legal proceedings, Toyota is opting to pay a $1.1 billion settlement. About $500 million of that will go to plaintiffs who sold their vehicles between September 2009 and December 2010, as well as for plaintiffs’ vehicles which can’t be retrofit with the brake-override system.
The settlement will allow Toyota to “…move on, and if we’re going to have some kind of financial expense in all of this, let’s do it in a way we can focus in on the customer and do something for them, rather than spend years more in courts trying to fight this,” according to Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president.