Toyota will pay up to $3.4bn to settle US lawsuit over inadequate rust protection

Toyota has agreed to pay up to $3.4bn (£2.7bn) to settle a US Federal class action which claimed that certain models of the Japanese carmaker’s trucks and sport-utility vehicles lacked proper rust protection – leading to corrosion of vehicle framed and undermining structural integrity.

The proposed settlement covers 1.5 million vehicles, including Tacoma compact pickups made from 2005 to 2010, Tundra full-size pickups 2007 to 2008, and Sequoia SUVs from 2005 to 2008.

A 2009 model year Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

Toyota will inspect the vehicles for 12 years from the day they were first sold or leased and replace the frames of cars which are found to have faulty rust protection.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers estimate the cost of frame replacement at about $3.375 billion, based on a cost of about $15,000 per vehicle and the inspections at about $90 million at a cost of $60 per vehicle.

Owners of affected vehicles who previously paid for frame replacement will also be reimbursed.

In the proposed settlement Toyota admitted no liability or wrongdoing.

“We want our customers to have a great ownership experience, so we are pleased to resolve this litigation in a way that benefits them and demonstrates that we stand behind the quality and reliability of our vehicles,” Toyota said in a statement.

The carmaker also agreed to pay legal fees of $9.75 million, $150,000 in costs and expenses, and $2,500 to each of the named class representatives.