The biggest P.R. destruction an automotive company had to face after the Lancia debacle was Toyota‘s unintended acceleration issue. In the early to mid 90s, Lancia, an Italian company best remembered to be the maker of the craziest, best and the most technologically advanced cars was a victim of P.R. disaster. All the press had gone against the company and drew it into paying massive settlement claims which bankrupted the company.
Unlike Lancia, Toyota, even though it doesn’t want to be the largest company in the world but it still is and even after paying record breaking settlement claims previously, it can afford to pay another set of huge bills to settle the unintended acceleration case which halved Toyota‘s P.R. reputation.
To settle these court cases, Toyota has proposed over a billion dollars to settle civil claims of economic loss related to alleged cases of sudden unintended acceleration in its vehicles from 2009-2010. Estimates place the cost of the settlement between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion.
Toyota released the following official statement:
- Toyota will install brake override systems in all 3.25 million vehicles subjected to the floor mat entrapment recall.
- A fund of $250 million will compensate former Toyota owners who sold their cars from September 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010 for lost value.
- Another fund of $250 million will compensate current owners whose vehicles are not eligible for the free brake override system.
- All 16 million current Toyota owners will be eligible for a customer care plan that warrants certain parts allegedly related to unintended acceleration for three to 10 years.
- Education grants valued at $30 million will be made to independent academic institutions to further study auto safety and enhance driver education.