A federal grand jury in New York has subpoenaed
, seeking information on steering-related defects in its vehicles and
possibly widening an investigation into the automaker’s handling
of a 2005 recall.
The lawyers at
Gresham, P.C. have filed a national class action against Toyota related to the recall
of the 2010 Toyota Prius for its defective braking system. Contact
GRESHAM pc today for a free consultation. In a short filing Tuesday with the
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Toyota said the subpoena, received by subsidiaries in the United States
on June 29, had demanded documents about steering relay rod
defects in the company’s cars.
Toyota intended to “cooperate earnestly” with investigations,
the filing said. Toyota had already received two subpoenas this year,
one from a grand jury in February for documents related to
sudden acceleration and braking, and one from the Michigan attorney general in March for information on recalls.
It was not immediately clear what defects — or which models or production
years — the latest subpoena concerned. Ririko Takeuchi, a Tokyo-based
spokeswoman for Toyota, said the automaker was still clarifying details
of the subpoena.
Earlier this year, U. S. regulators said they were investigating a 2005
Toyota recall — for a steering-related problem in vehicles including
4Runners — in connection with a possible breach of rules for alerting
the authorities about flaws.
U.S. Department of Transportation said in May that it was investigating the timing of the September 2005
recall for steering relay rod defects after an October 2004 recall in
Japan for the same flaw. Under U.S. law, carmakers have five days to report
safety problems to regulators.
In 2004, Toyota told regulators that the
defect was isolated to vehicles in Japan, and the company had not received reports
of similar problems in the United States, according to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
But in late 2005, Toyota informed the agency the steering relay rod
defect was present in models sold in the United States, and the company conducted
a recall of about 977,000 vehicles.
The automaker, based in Toyota City, Japan, has already faced a criminal
investigation in Japan over its handling of faulty steering relay rods.
Investigators in Japan have charged that Toyota engineers discovered in
1996 that crucial steering rods could fracture in the 4Runner, sold as
the Hilux Surf in Japan, and started installing a stronger version on
new models later that year.
But it took Toyota eight years to start recalling the vehicles built before
1996, after a 2004 accident involving an out-of-control Hilux Surf in
Japan prompted a police investigation. Though no Toyota officials were
charged, the automaker received a rebuke from the Japanese government
and was ordered to overhaul its recall system.
The latest grand jury subpoena comes as Toyota continues an internal investigation
into complaints over sticking accelerator pedals and floor mats that interfere
with the pedals.
Since November, Toyota has recalled about 8.5 million vehicles worldwide
to resolve problems with pedals that stick or get caught under floor mats.
In issuing the recalls, Toyota acknowledged the problems, but said it
had not conducted a thorough review of the complaints.
However, an internal investigation of about 2,000 vehicles reported to
experience sudden acceleration found evidence that accelerator pedals
and floor mats did cause some of the incidents, the automaker said last week.
The U.S. government has ordered Toyota to pay a record $16.4 million fine
for waiting too long to initiate a recall after learning that its accelerator
pedals were defective. Toyota has acknowledged that it received complaints
from customers in Europe about sticking accelerator pedals as early as
The lawyers at GRESHAM pc have filed a national class action against Toyota
related to the recall of the 2010 Toyota Prius for its defective braking
system. Contact GRESHAM pc today for a free consultation.