Toyota Secretly Bought Back Cars to Hide Flaws: Suit

Customers allegedly had to sign confidentiality agreements
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2010 7:28 AM CDT
A Toyota dealership is seen in this file photo.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, file)

(Newser) – In an effort to hide its unintended acceleration problems from the public and safety regulators, Toyota secretly bought back faulty cars from customers, making them sign confidentiality agreements in the process, according to a new class action lawsuit. The lawsuit, which is more than 700 pages long, not including hundreds of pages of exhibits, contends that Toyota ignored evidence of its acceleration problems for decades, sweeping them under the proverbial floor mat, Reuters reports.

Toyota admits repurchasing the vehicles, but says it did so to conduct “further engineering analysis.” According to a spokesman, customers were asked to sign a “settlement agreement” including a release from liability, but not a confidentiality agreement. Toyota says it found nothing wrong with any of the cars, sticking by its explanation that acceleration problems sprung from sticky pedals and ill-fitting floor mats. But the lawsuit contradicts that, too, citing internal Toyota communications and field reports in which technicians reported unexplained engine surges.

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