A US court case has resulted permitted owners of Toyota vehicles with alleged defects to sue the Japanese car manufacturer for precipitating a fall in value of their cars. The case follows a string of Toyota product recalls over the past two years.
Previous defects in the products had caused the cars accelerate suddenly. Recalls of millions of vehicles began in 2009, with 3.8m defects where the floor mat was at risk of pressing the accelerator pedal. Then, in January 2010, 2.3m cars were withdrawn for accelerator pedals that stuck to the floor mat. For the same reason, another 2.17m vehicles were withdrawn in February, 2011.
Toyota maintained that there is no proof of any defects and tried to stop the lawsuits but Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, California allowed them to commence.
In a landmark case, Judge Selna said: “Taking these allegations as true, as the court must at the pleading stage, they establish an economic loss.”
In a statement, Celeste Migliore said: “Toyota is confident that no defect exists in its electronic throttle control system.”
Steve Berman, co-lead counsel for many of the plaintiffs said: “Judge Selna agreed with our contention that Toyota owners who did not attempt to sell their vehicle could still bring a claim because they overpaid for their vehicles, buying cars that were not worth as much as a car free of these defects.”
Toyota is regarded by a large number of leaders in the worldwide manufacturing industry as the mastermind behind the concept of lean. Some argue that for such a large number of products to be recalled over such a long period of time calls into question the efficiency of their production methods, and how true they are to their historically professed principles.