A putative class action alleges that the frames for certain Toyota vehicles are prone to excessive and premature rust corrosion because they were not properly prepared and treated against such corrosion during manufacturing. Such corrosion, as the plaintiff alleges, poses a safety hazard because the vehicle frame “forms the basis of a vehicle’s crashworthiness, including its ability to withstand or minimize damage to the occupant compartment in the event of an accident.” According to the complaint, the corrosion at issue is not normal surface rust after years of usage or exposure to environmental conditions. Plaintiff argues excessive rust corrosion defect affects the vehicles’ safety because important components of the suspension, engine, transmission, and body anchor to the frames of the vehicles.
The complaint, filed against Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Toyota Motor Corporation, and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. (collectively, “Toyota”), alleges the premature rust defect exists in 2005 to 2011 Toyota 4-Runners.
The named plaintiff, Gary Weinreich, alleges he experienced significant rust corrosion requiring replacement in the frame of a Toyota 4-Runner Sport he purchased in 2005. In 2011, a mechanic allegedly noted severe and excessive rust on the undercarriage and drive shaft transmission, and, similarly, in 2013, a mechanic noted rust on the undercarriage, splash shields, exhaust, and shocks. As Plaintiff further alleged, in 2017, Plaintiff was informed by an owner of a Meineke Car Care that his vehicle had “excessive frame corrosion,” and, although Toyota had issued a Customer Support Program for Toyota truck owners under which they would replace severely corroded frames, 4 Runners were not included. In 2018, Plaintiff reportedly was driving his car at highway speed, when the wheel began vibrating, causing him to lose control of the car and veer off the road; after his car was towed to a garage, he was told his right front control arm broke away from the frame due to severe corrosion and rust, which caused loss of control for the front right wheel and vehicle and left it inoperable.
The plaintiffs assert claims including breach of implied and express warranty, and negligent misrepresentation.
Plaintiff alleges Toyota has “long known” of the rust defect but has not disclosed the defect, issued a recall, or offered reimbursement for costs associated with repairing the defect.
The lawsuit seeks remedies including damages and an order requiring Toyota to repair or replace the frames on the vehicles at issue.
The case is Weinreich v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., et al., case number 2:18-cv-3294-RMG, in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.