Toyota Settles Rust Suit for $3.4 B – Tacoma, Tundra Trucks Affected

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A class-action suit surrounding premature rusting on 2005-10 Toyota Tacoma, 2007-08 Tundra and 2005-08 Sequoias was recently settled with Toyota agreeing to $3.4 billion.

Toyota Settles Rust Suit for $3.4 B - Tacoma, Tundra Trucks Affected
The case, settled after years of ongoing consumer complaints and months of negotiation, is still subject to court approval. The settlement, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles this week, was first reported by the Detroit Free News

Once approved, owners will have their vehicles inspected and repairs estimated to range from the $90 inspection to upwards of a $15,000 frame replacement will be offered. The agreement covers an estimated 1.5 million vehicles.

“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, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The deal also sets aside up to $9.9 million for attorneys’ fees and expenses. There is also another $1.75 to $2.5 million being set aside by Toyota to notify potential owners through letters, publication notices and internet campaigns.

Consumer attorneys’, who combined a 2014 consumer lawsuit in Arkansas with litigation in California, called the settlement “the result of hard-fought litigation” and a “complete and total success” for affected drivers. Toyota said while it “disputes and contests the allegations in these class action lawsuits” that the deal “represents a reasonable and fair way to end the controversy.” (both quotes from the Wall Street Journal article.)

The controversy has been brewing for years and we have covered it extensively.

As part of the settlement Toyota doesn’t admit to any wrongdoing.

Frankly, in our view, Toyota is probably thrilled to have settled and is more than ready to move on. For their sake, we hope the Toyota engineers have figured this out on the new trucks and the rust issue will be done once and for all.

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  1. “We want our customers to have a great ownership experience”.

    I have a colleague who had his Tacoma frame replaced; it took six months. Will waiting several months or more for a fix translate to a good ownership experience?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      I’ll answer for him.

      “No comment.”

      LOL.

      -Tim

    • j says:

      I dad my 02 tundra frame replaced in 3 days. Located in NE near ocean lots of salt, lots of frame replaces here. Maybe they had to wait for parts…

      you can go to dealer back parking and see a stack of frames.

  2. ricqik says:

    My 2000 had a frame replacement. This new frame is way better than the old one. My old one rusted in 5yrs and perforated through in 10yrs. It has been 6yrs since the new frame and it still looks very good with minor surface rust only around the welds. I’d say I am satisfied with the new frame. Now if only the body would stay together as long as the frame.. 😉

  3. So, how will this 3.4 billion settlement influence future light truck development?

  4. I’m not really sure how to say this, so I’ll just come out and say it. Sweers’ response of “No ours or TSB” to my long repair list doesn’t fly a court of law, now does it. While on the subject of his response…I was expecting something more like “some parts do fall out of spec during manufacturing and make there way into production and unfortunately, you experienced a much higher than usually occurrence, to the point of qualifying as an outlier”. That I can understand, but then there’s the ownership experience which was not addressed and why I held a grudge.

    I’ll admit, I do feel a sense of closure with this settlement, even though I won’t benefit from it, I guess I’ll sum it up to karma…

  5. ricqik says:

    Now why is it that no one has yet to use a galvanized frame?

    • Fair question, here’s what I found on Wikipedia:

      Although galvanizing will inhibit attack of the underlying steel, rusting will be inevitable, after some decades, especially if exposed to acidic conditions. For example, corrugated iron sheet roofing will start to degrade within a few years despite the protective action of the zinc coating. Marine and salty environments also lower the lifetime of galvanized iron because the high electrical conductivity of sea water increases the rate of corrosion primarily through converting the solid zinc to soluble zinc chloride which simply washes away. Galvanized car frames exemplify this; they corrode much quicker in cold environments due to road salt, though they will last longer than unprotected steel. Galvanized steel can last for many decades if other means are maintained, such as paint coatings and additional sacrificial anodes. The rate of corrosion in non-salty environments is mainly due to levels of sulfur dioxide in the air.[8] In the most benign natural environments, such as inland low population areas, galvanized steel can last without rust for over 100 years.

      • ricqik says:

        So then it is a viable option. Just coat it the same as the standard frames and it should last many times longer.

        Hmm, what about a stainless steel frame?

  6. Randy says:

    So what if you have an 07 tundra and the frame is not rusted? you don’t benefit at all correct?

  7. JJ says:

    How can we trust the dealers to impartially inspect the frames? Even if we could and your frame is rust-free, the resale value has taken a huge hit. Not to mention consumers’ trust and their brand image.

    Compare how unjustly and incompetently Toyota is dealing with this, to how fairly and openly VW is handling dieselgate. If you have X-model year, Y-model VW TDI and you want a buyback, you get it. They have thought about diminished resale values from the point of view of the owners. Toyota seems to be digging our way out of the hole they put us in. It’s like getting a bear hug from someone wearing a suicide vest…

    • In order for dealers to handle frame repairs efficiently and profitably, they dedicate technicians to them, so they can be experienced at the repair. The dealer making money from the repair will “encourage” them to do right.

      Now, the matter of brand image. I agree, Toyota is in a deep hole for their light truck line. Adding to the depth of the hole is the recent lowering of the predicted reliability for the new Tacoma. It’s clear that times are dark for Toyota USA trucks right now and I wonder how this sits with Toyota Japan, since the Japanese trucks don’t suffer from frame rust.

      What it comes down to is this:

      “when parts and assembly do not meet the same level commitment as the engineering that went into the Tundra, don’t expect QDR”

      I experienced this first hand and this quote can be found on my site.

  8. One more item to consider; the light truck market has never been more competitive, thus making it harder to stand out.

  9. gordich says:

    Unfortunately my 2010 DC 4×4 Tundy is suffering from excessive corrosion of frame/running gear. Disappointing in that it is garage kept and has but 57,000 miles.

    It s so bad that a recent visit to Kendall Toyota of Anchorage to install 2 front shocks and then a four wheel alignment came in at over $4700.00! The dealer blames corrosion and hence the need to cut and replace parts to achieve said repair.

    In good faith and an effort to keep me as a customer, Toyota paid aprox $1700.00, Kendall paid aprox $1500.00 and I paid $1300.00.

    They didn’t have to help out and I give them credit for doing so. However, I still paid $1300.00 for installation of two shocks and an alignment.

    BTW…this is the first problem with this vehicle, but it is serious.

  10. Sorry to hear about the frame corrosion problem. It shouldn’t have happened as the frame is treated to avoid a problem like this. You can read about it hear if interested.

    http://www.tundraheadquarters......ta-tundra/

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