Canadian Suit Alleges Toyota Electronic Throttle Control Defect

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
canadian suit alleges toyota electronic throttle control defect

According to a PR Newswire release, a class action suit has been filed against Toyota and supplier CTS, alleging “inherent design defects,” specifically a “lack of failsafes” in Toyota’s ETCS-i (Electronic Throttle Control System-intelligent), in use since 2001. As in not the pedal assembly. A similar suit was filed in the US last November. Today, Toyota’s Jim Lentz was emphatic that electronics were not the issue with the ongoing recall, but shortly after the US suit was filed, Toyota quietly announced that an electronic brake override system would be installed on certain vehicles with automatic transmissions. Is that as good as an admission of guilt? You can bet the lawyers are already saying so. The full release is available after the jump.

TORONTO, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ – A national class action has been commenced on behalf of all Canadian owners, operators, lessors and/or passengers of Toyota vehicles with the ETCS-i throttling system.

The claim seeks compensation for losses and injuries as a result of the purchase or use of numerous Toyota vehicles. The defendants named in the lawsuit are Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Toyota Motor North America, Inc., Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., Toyota Canada Inc., Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. and CTS of Canada Ltd., CTS of Canada Holding Co., CTS of Canada GP Ltd., CTS of Canada Co. and CTS Corporation.

The claim, filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleges that Toyota and CTS Corporation knew or ought to have known of inherent design defects in the ETCS-i System and its component parts that have been used in models of Toyota vehicles manufactured since 2001. The consequences of these design defects, including the lack of failsafes used by other auto manufacturers, have resulted in numerous reports throughout North America of uncontrollable unintended accelerations, including cases of collisions involving severe injuries and death to drivers and passengers of these vehicles.

Joel P. Rochon, a partner at Rochon Genova LLP said: “This is a complex problem spanning several years and many models–we are concerned that the recent announcement of a “fix” appears not to address the ETCS-i Systems itself, nor the issue of a lack of failsafe which would permit the driver to regain control of the vehicle in the event of an unintended acceleration.”

“Having only purchased a brand new car a few weeks ago, I simply cannot believe that Toyota would have sold me this vehicle”, said the proposed representative plaintiff Steven Hamilton. “I can’t even resell my car now–I am seeking a full refund.”

The allegations raised in the claim have not yet been proven in court. The plaintiff and the proposed class members are represented by the firm of Rochon Genova LLP.


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  • Tigre Marino Tigre Marino on Feb 02, 2010

    Suddenly, Chrysler cars look quality-engineered.

  • Steven02 Steven02 on Feb 02, 2010

    Interesting enough... "Lentz said he is confident that resolving this issue and the floor mat entrapment problem will solve the problem for Toyota. The automaker has also said it is making "brake override" -- a system that cuts engine power to the wheels as soon as the brake pedal is pressed -- standard equipment on all of its cars. The "brake override" software will also be added to the internal computers on some cars as they are brought in for recall repairs, a Toyota spokesman said." Looks like Toyota will be changing some ECUs.

  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"