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Toyota to pay $3.4 billion to settle premature rusting lawsuits

By Eric DuVall
Toyota to pay $3.4 billion to settle premature rusting lawsuits
Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp., speaks during a financial results press conference in Tokyo in May. The Japanese automaker has agreed to pay $3.4 billion to settle class-action lawsuits over premature rusting of body frames on three older model trucks and SUVs in the United States. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Japanese automaker Toyota agreed to a $3.4 billion settlement after metal body frames on its pickups and SUVs were found to lack sufficient rust protection, causing them to prematurely corrode.

According to court filings, the settlement, which won preliminary approval from a federal judge in Los Angeles earlier this week, covers about 1.5 million vehicles in the United States. Toyota owners in two states filed suit over problems with their vehicles, which include Toyota Tacoma trucks from model years 2005 to 2010, Tundras from 2007 to 2008 and Sequoias from 2005 to 2008.

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Under the terms of the deal, Toyota must notify owners of the affected vehicles and perform annual inspections for up to 12 years from the first year the individual owned the truck. If premature corrosion is found, Toyota will replace the frames at no cost to the vehicle's owner.

The Detroit News reported the ultimate size of the settlement could change depending on the number of vehicles the company actually has to repair.

The company released a statement confirming the settlement, saying, "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."

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