By Ronan Glon
Thursday, Dec 27th, 2012 @ 5:01 am
 
Toyota has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit related to alleged cases of unintended acceleration in cars equipped with electronic throttle control. Lawyers familiar with the case say that the proposed settlement is one of the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

If approved by District Judge James V. Selna, the settlement will compensate select former and current Toyota owners for economic losses tied to the acceleration problems. The $1.1 billion covers the cost of installing and maintaining brake-override systems in eligible vehicles and a small portion of it will help fund automotive safety research.

Owners who sold or traded in their Toyota between September 1st, 2009, and December 31st, 2010, and those who own cars whose brake systems cannot be retrofitted with a override system will receive a small cash payment.

Court documents reveal that roughly 16 million Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles built between 1998 and 2010 and sold in the United States are covered by the lawsuit.

Toyota explained in a statement that it proposed the landmark settlement to keep its customers satisfied and avoid a legal quagmire. It does not admit fault and maintains that its cars are perfectly safe.

"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, general counsel for Toyota.

The Japanese automaker has set up a website to keep concerned owners up-to-date on the latest news regarding the legal proceedings.

The settlement is independent from the wrongful death, personal injury and unfair business practice lawsuits that Toyota is also involved in.