The class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of All South Carolina residents who purchased the 2007-2009 Camry, the 2006-2008 Lexus ES, and the 2006-2008 Lexus IS.
According to the complaint, unbeknownst to consumers, Toyota designed, manufactured, distributed, marketed, and sold certain automobiles with defective dashboards that melt or degrade upon prolonged exposure to the sun. The affected models include the 2006-2008 Lexus ES, the 2006- 2008 Lexus IS, and 2007-2009 Toyota Camry. Because the nature of this defect is that the degradation occurs over time, it was a hidden defect from consumers at the time of purchase.
Toyota and Lexus utilize warranties that provide comprehensive warranty coverage to consumers. The Toyota Camry warranty extends for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles following the purchase of the vehicle. The Lexus ES and IS warranties extend for the first 4 years or 50,000 miles following the purchase of the vehicle. However, consumers typically observe the defect only after the expiration of the warranty coverage.
On December 2, 2011, following the expiration of warranty coverage for most purchasers of the defective vehicles, Lexus issued a technical service bulletin (“TSB”) designated as L-SB-0144-11 and titled “Interior Panels Sticky/Poor Appearance.” The TSB noted that the 2006-2008 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 “may exhibit sticky interior panels that have a shiny/degraded appearance. These conditions maybe present on the Instrument Panel Pad and/ or the Door Panel Trim. Revised interior panels have been developed to address this condition.”
TSB L-SB-0144-11 was made available to Lexus dealerships but was not mailed to consumers. Toyota utilized a similar defective dashboard design for the 2006-2008 Lexus ES and the 2007-2009 Toyota Camry but did not issue a comparable TSB for such vehicles.
Toyota did not inform prior purchasers of the 2006-2008 Lexus ES, the 2006- 2008 Lexus IS, and the 2007-2009 Toyota Camry that it developed a fix for the defective dashboards.
By issuing a TSB to Lexus dealerships, and knowing that repairs will generally occur outside of warranty, Defendants obtained an additional revenue source when customers paid out of pocket for the repairs. Thus, Toyota obtained further profit from the defect by shifting responsibility for repair costs to consumers. Those customers who did not pay out of pocket for the repairs nonetheless have a car with diminished value that should have been repaired under Toyota’s warranty obligations because the defect existed at the time of sale.