Auto recalls initiated by Japanese manufacturer Toyota in the past several months may have a more nefarious side as the company is accused of buying back cars from their owners who noted sudden acceleration defects to hide the problems and not informing regulators, according to AFP and the Associated Press.
Technicians at the company apparently were able to recreate the unintended acceleration problem that caused the millions of recalls in the past few years, the plaintiffs’ lawyers allege.
“Upon the technicians replicating a SUA event, Toyota decided it was in the customer’s ‘interest’ for Toyota to buy back the vehicle, meaning in reality that Toyota decided to remove this vehicle from the market since it was experiencing SUA incidents that could not be blamed on the driver,” said a California complaint, according to AFP.
“And, to further conceal the defect, Toyota required as a condition of the vehicle repurchase that the owner sign a confidentiality agreement and agree not to sue,” the statement added.
The AP report noted that there were some cases that went back to 2006 where technicians experienced the sudden unintended acceleration in vehicles.
The complaint said that the automaker didn’t report this information to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Steve Berman, said that the “further we dig into the facts that surround Toyota, the more damning the evidence that Toyota was aware of the issue, and failed to act responsibly.”
He added that the automaker’s act of purchasing the defect vehicles as part of a cover-up is “curious at best, nefarious at worst.”
Toyota spokesperson Mike Michels rejected the plaintiffs’ claims.
“After having thoroughly analyzed these vehicles and driven them for thousands of miles, Toyota (technicians) and engineers have not been able to replicate the customers’ acceleration concerns nor found any related issues or conditions in these vehicles,” Michels told AP. “In fact, test driving of these vehicles is ongoing and they are operating safely.”
Source: The Epoch Times