Tennessee officials joined leaders from 29 other states to announce a $29 million agreement with Toyota Motor Corporation about allegations the company concealed safety issues related to unintended acceleration.
The state will get about $700,000 as part of the deal.
The state’s complaint and agreed final judgment may be found on the attorney general’s website by going to www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral and clicking on “filings of interest.”
Officials filed the agreement Thursday in Knox County Chancery Court, and it is pending court approval, according to a news release from the state's attorney general's office.
“We hope that this agreement will benefit consumers through Toyota’s commitment to improve internal communications and timely public notifications regarding any future safety concerns with the company’s products,” Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. said in a prepared statement.
Leaders filed the agreement in conjunction with the Consumer Affairs Division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Toyota leaders have agreed to improve communication with consumers if other safety issues arise, and the company will be restricted from advertising the safety of vehicles without sound engineering data to back up the claims.
Along with the agreement, officials filed a complaint alleging that Toyota engaged in "unfair and deceptive practices when it failed to timely disclose known safety defects with accelerator pedals," according to the news release.
"The investigating state attorneys general determined poor communication between Toyota’s nerve center in Japan and Toyota’s United States holdings was partially responsible for Toyota’s failure to timely report known safety issues," also according to the release.
In addition, the agreement provides that Toyota is:
—Prohibited from reselling a vehicle it reacquired with alleged safety defects without informing the purchaser about the alleged defect(s) and certifying that the reacquired vehicle has been fixed.
—Prohibited from misrepresenting the purpose of an inspection or repair when directing consumers to bring their vehicles to a dealer for inspection or repair.
—Required to exclude from the "Toyota certified used vehicles” or “Lexus certified pre-owned vehicles” categories any vehicle acquired through Lemon Law proceedings or voluntarily repurchased by Toyota to ensure customer satisfaction.
—Required for the next year to consider consumer requests for reasonable and provable out-of-pocket expenses to reimburse consumers whose vehicles were part of Toyota’s “floor mat entrapment” or “sticky pedal” recalls and safety campaigns. The reimbursement may be for certain out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of the recall, such as towing costs and rental car costs.