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ARKANSAS IN $29M MULTI-STATE SETTLEMENT WITH TOYOTA


(The following is a reformatted version of a press release issued by the Office of Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and received via electronic mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.)

FEB. 14, 2013

ATTORNEY GENERAL REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH TOYOTA

LITTLE ROCK - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today that Arkansas and 29 other states have reached a $29 million agreement with Toyota Motor Corp. to settle allegations that Toyota concealed its knowledge of safety defects in accelerator pedals.

Arkansas will receive $576,244 in the settlement. Additionally, Toyota has agreed to provide restitution to vehicle owners who may have incurred costs related to safety recalls associated with the unintended acceleration problems. Toyota is also prohibited from advertising the safety of vehicles without sound engineering data to back such claims.

“Car buyers deserve the assurance that manufacturers will quickly and appropriately respond to known safety risks,” McDaniel said. “The terms of this settlement require that Toyota make changes to improve its responsiveness to safety issues, and that benefits consumers.”

In a complaint filed today in Pulaski County Circuit Court, McDaniel alleged that Toyota engaged in unconscionable and deceptive practices when it failed to timely disclose safety problems related to unintended acceleration. During an investigation, the States found that poor communications between Toyota’s nerve center in Japan and the company’s United States holdings were partially responsible for Toyota’s failure to timely report known safety issues. The complaint was filed contemporaneously with the settlement agreement.

Under terms of the settlement, Toyota is prohibited from reselling a vehicle it reacquired with alleged safety defects without informing the purchaser about the alleged defect and certifying that the vehicle has been repaired. The company may not misrepresent the purpose of an inspection or repair when directing consumers to bring their vehicle to a dealer for inspection or repair, and it is required to exclude from “Toyota Certified Used Vehicles” or “Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles” any car acquired through Lemon Law proceedings or voluntarily repurchased by Toyota to ensure customer satisfaction.

The settlement provides for reimbursements for consumers whose vehicles were part of the safety recall related to unintended acceleration problems, but had unreimbursed expenses. Consumers who believe they are eligible for reimbursements should contact Toyota at (800) 331-4331 or Lexus at (800) 255-3987.

CONTACT: AARON SADLER (501) 682-0517

(bjh) NY

#<873920.660640.3.4.0.0.76>#

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