By Don Southerton, Korea Legal.org Editor
AP notes….WASHINGTON – Even as Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda wrapped up a grueling appearance before Congress, the head of the world’s largest automaker wasn’t leaving his problems behind.
Toyota faces a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in New York. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the company. Its beleaguered U.S. dealerships are facing repairs to potentially millions of customer vehicles that have been recalled. The company is offering customers new reimbursements for rental carsand other expenses.
Its lawyers are bracing for waves of death and injury lawsuits. The Senate will conduct a new hearing next week. And the cost to Toyota’s reputation is only now starting to emerge.
Toyota is taking a beating in the media and in Washington, DC before a congressional hearing. Korea, too, feels the pressure against Toyota, as a respected benchmark for Asian auto success, a desired high quality import, and a rival for Hyundai and Kia Motors ( globally and even in Korea). That so, some in Korea feel Toyota is a ripe target for lawsuit.
Chosun Ilbo notes
According to the Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday, a 54-year-old woman identified only as Kim has filed suit against Toyota Motor, Toyota Korea, and Toyota’s Korean dealer Hyosung for damages of W138.9 million (US$1=W1,144), including the car price and compensation. She bought a 2010 Prius Hybrid in September last year.
Kim complains of a serious problem in the car’s braking system, which made her afraid to drive. She alleges that Toyota and others have continued selling cars in the country since 2009 after deliberately covering up serious defects, delaying the improvement of the braking system until this February. Kim suffered no accident.
Her attorneys said it is likely that more buyers of the Prius will sue Toyota due to the latest recall in the U.S.