Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration/Brake Failure E-mail Made Public

Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration/Brake Failure E-mail Made Public

Toyota has endured a drawn-out public relations nightmare due to the still unresolved unintended acceleration issue. Time usually heals all wounds, but in this case, time seems to be making Toyota's situation worse. A recent e-mail showing that Toyota had internal warnings of mechanical problems has been made public and has lead to additional outrage and calls from the U.S. government for further penalties.

The e-mail, written by a Toyota executive, read, "I hate to break this to you, but we have a tendency for mechanical failure in accelerator pedals of a certain manufacturer on certain models." The executive added, "The time to hide on this one is over. We need to come clean."

The National Highway and Safety Administration has already fined Toyota $16.4 million for the unintended acceleration problem. In light of the recently released e-mail and information that Toyota had warned its European dealerships of the unintended acceleration problems months before warning the U.S. market, lawmakers are considering additional fines.

The $16.4 million dollar fine already imposed on Toyota is a bargain, considering what the fine could have been if it were not for laws capping the amount of the fine. The government can fine Toyota up to $6,000 for each vehicle sold by Toyota with the defect, adding up to $13.8 billion. The cap, limiting the fine to $16.4 million, reduced the fine to just over 0.1 percent of what it could have been notwithstanding the cap.

Toyota will attempt to weather the media storm, which includes allegations that the company hid knowledge of the unintended acceleration that lead to multiple deaths in the U.S., and government officials pursuing additional fines and penalties. The long-term effect on Toyota's image and the perhaps positive impact on Toyota's competitors remain to be seen.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of sudden unintended acceleration, contact an experienced product liability lawyer today.