Earlier this week, Toyota reached a massive $1.3 billion settlement for the class action lawsuit that was filed after claims of unintended acceleration plagued the automaker in 2009 and 2010. Owners sued Toyota because the publicity of unintended acceleration — something that was determined to be the fault of the drivers in many cases — has caused the value of their cars to be impacted negatively.
While the settlement sounds incredible, Car and Driver's Justin Berkowitz in a detailed analysis says there aren't many winners.
Of course, a class action settlement is intended to make plaintiffs think that the holes of despair in their life will be filled with sweet, sweet cashola.
But typically another group profits more: The lawyers behind the lawsuit. In the Toyota settlement, at least $200 million will be going to the lawyers, with another $27 million available for their expenses. They will be making a killing.
On a positive note, Toyota will be putting $30 million into automotive research and education. It looks like the University of Iowa's Public Policy Center will be getting an additional $800,000 right off the bat, $14.2 million into a safety campaign, and up to $15 million more into research and money for other schools.
Even though it's a forced investment, it's into something that will ultimately do good. The problem is that this shows that automakers are willing to shell out oodles (technical term) of dollars to make a problem go away. Now that suits are brewing against Hyundai-Kia and Ford for bogus fuel mileage claims, can we expect a similar high dollar payout to make it go away?
Only time will tell.