Largest settlement in US history involving car defects must now be approved by a judge
The Toyota car company has agreed to pay over $1bn to settle claims that its cars could unintentionally accelerate out of control. A judge must approve Toyota’s offer of $1.1bn (£683m) which was filed in a Californian court on Wednesday.
Toyota was taken to court by owners of its cars who claimed there was an electronic fault in the acceleration system. Toyota said any accelerator problems were caused by driver error, pedals sticking or badly fitted mats. The settlement means Toyota does not admit blame and avoids a lengthy trial.
The deal includes payments to customers as well as installation of a brake override system which prevents unintentional acceleration in about 3.25m vehicles. The terms include a $250m fund for former Toyota owners who sold vehicles at reduced prices because of adverse publicity, and a separate $250m fund for owners not eligible for the brake override system. Lawyers will receive $200m in fees and $27m in costs.
Steve Berman, representing the car owners, said the settlement is the largest in American history involving car defects.
Toyota has recalled more than 14m vehicles worldwide due to acceleration problems in several models and brake defects with the Prius hybrid.