PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island will receive $510,000 as part of a 29-state, $29 million settlement with the Toyota Motor Co. and its related North America entities, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced Thursday.
Toyota agreed to pay $29 million to settle allegations that it concealed safety issues related to unintended acceleration in its vehicles.
Under the terms of the agreement, Toyota will be restricted from advertising the safety of vehicles without “sound engineering data to back up such safety claims.”
“Companies that continue to put profits ahead of consumer safety will be held accountable,” Kilmartin said in a statement. “Consumers are faced with many choices when purchasing a vehicle, and safety features are one of the most important aspects to consider. This settlement puts auto manufacturers on notice: customers need to be able to trust that the safety information provided by car manufacturers is accurate and truthful.”
In a complaint filed along with the settlement agreement, the involved states alleged that Toyota engaged in “unfair and deceptive practices when it failed to timely disclose known safety defects with accelerator pedals.” The Attorneys General determined that poor communication between Toyota’s Japan and United States holdings were partially responsible for the failure to report the issues.
As a result of the complaint, Toyota has agreed to “significantly change” the safety culture at the United States operations, ensuring that officials and officers have “timely access to information” and the authority to fully participate in decisions affecting the safe operations of Toyota vehicles advertised and sold in the U.S.
The investigation was led by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.