Toyota to pay $1bn in car-defect case


Japan's Toyota has agreed to pay more than $1bn to settle a US class-action suit involving claims of acceleration problems with its cars.

Details of the deal, which is set to be the largest settlement in US history involving car defects, emerged today. The settlement, which still needs to be approved by a federal judge in California, also includes direct payments to customers, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs, and covers the installation of break-override systems in more than 3 million vehicles.

The case was filed in 2010, after reports from drivers around the US that their Toyota cars were suddenly and unintentionally accelerating.

"This was a difficult decision – especially since reliable scientific evidence and multiple independent evaluations have confirmed the safety of Toyota's electronic throttle control systems," said Christopher Reynolds, the group vice-president for Toyota's US sales arm. "However, we concluded turning the page on this legacy legal issue is in the best interests of the company, our employees, our dealers and, most of all, our customers."

Steve Berman, who acted for the plaintiffs, said: "After two years of intense work, we are pleased that Toyota has agreed to a settlement."