Toyota Settles Strange Class-Action Lawsuit

Toyota,CADAIn a bizarre piece of news today, the recent settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Toyota and the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association could make you eligible for some cash, even if you bought a Chevy.

In 2003, several federal and state lawsuits alleged that Toyota (and other large automakers) conspired with CADA to prevent virtually identical new cars from being exported to the United States from Canada. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit say the prevention or hindrance of trade ultimately led to higher prices in the U.S. by denying consumers access to potentially cheaper cars from Canada. We're still unclear if these were decontented versions of the models tailored specifically for Canada where car prices are generally higher, currency fluctuations or other factors. You can read the details here.

Other automakers were named in the lawsuit, but they either filed bankruptcy protection (GM and Chrysler), or their federal cases were dismissed. Toyota and CADA denied any wrongdoing but settled the case for an estimated $37 million.

Some of that money is up for grabs to anyone who bought or leased any retail vehicle between Jan. 1, 2001, and April 30, 2003, from the automotive brands listed at the bottom of the post and only if you live in the following states listed at the bottom. (Like any civil settlement, there is a litany of reasons why you still might not be eligible, so please read the fine print.)

How much could you get? The lawyers who litigated the cases say they have collectively spent some $40 million but have agreed to take only 30% of the combined settlement. The 46 plaintiffs, who took time out of their lives to help litigate the lawsuit, will each get $750. The plaintiffs also tentatively agreed to donate up to $1 million of the proceeds to a non-profit group or governmental agency. If 10% of eligible claimants file for a payment, the administration costs alone could exceed $1 million.

The bottom line is that you probably wouldn’t get much. In fact, if your share of the settlement is less than $5, you won’t get anything at all.

Several states still have ongoing lawsuits, with California having one of the most active cases.

Eligible vehicle makes:

  • Acura
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Buick
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • Ford
  • GMC
  • Honda
  • Hummer
  • Infiniti
  • Jaguar
  • Jeep
  • Land Rover
  • Lexus
  • Lincoln
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes
  • Mercury
  • Mini
  • Nissan
  • Oldsmobile
  • Plymouth
  • Pontiac
  • Saab
  • Saturn
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen 
  • Volvo 

Eligible states:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin 

Toyota Allegedly Conspired to Keep Canadian Exports Out of US -- Get a Piece of the Class Action (The Consumerist)

By Colin Bird | January 27, 2011 | Comments (3)



Typical of most class action suits, the only people to make any money are the lawyers.


Toyota bashing again? The Consumerist is obviously biased against Toyota. Just look at the article title. It singled out Toyota as the main player in this conspiracy and made it appear as if it was the only automaker involved when in fact other automakers were in on it. Kudos to for reporting it as it should be, unbiased.

Amuro Ray

Actually, I disagree with the 2 comments about. There are legitimate reasoning for this.

Using several manufacturers for example:
Nissan - they rarely import their cheaper, lower end model such as the new Juke (non-turbo models), Murano, EX, Quest (these 3 on the 2500cc V6), etc.
Toyota / Honda - very similar to Nissan - the cheaper, lower end spec engine (most often cheaper price too!).
Mercedes Benz/BMW/Audi - you don't see many of their lower spec (and cheaper) models available in US or Canada.
Emission was often quoted as the reason back some 10+ years ago, but that's no longer the case with advancement in engine designs. It's all about cheaper price (= lower profit). This is at the sacrifice of consumer due to elimination of competition illegally.

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