Toyota Conceals Documents

Toyota has over the years concealed documents from customers, Congress, the Department of Justice, and most importantly perhaps, NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

The documents are available from the Department of Justice website. ( Or you can download them from the links below. They are not on the Toyota website. Toyota maintains what it calls the "Technical Analysis Department". It reports directly to the Toyota Legal Department and in truth, is part of the Legal Department. Although Toyota has tried to maintain that they are independent analysts, they are in truth Toyota's in-house "expert witnesses". They routinely testify for Toyota. They testify favorably for Toyota 100% of the time. Almost the entire Technical Analysis Department was heavily involved in providing misleading testimony and evidence in the unintended acceleration cases.

The DOJ documents chronicle the coordinated efforts of Toyota to conceal safety defects related to its unintended acceleration problem. They describe how Toyota misled customers, NHTSA, Congress, and the Department of Justice. How they concealed documents, and refused to cooperate despite the fact that people were being killed and injured in their vehicles. The documents also describe Toyota's overriding concern, sales and profits.

Toyota posted misleading statements on its website. It engaged in a protracted media campaign to discredit NHTSA investigators, Congress, and the public alike. It omitted its own internal findings from the reports it made to NHTSA, such as “‘out of control’” and “‘safety issue", and downplayed the seriousness of its internal reports.

The Statement of Facts lays out the chronology in great detail.

For example,

Paragraph 3. "Contrary to public statements that TOYOTA made in late 2009 saying it had “addressed” the “root cause” of unintended acceleration through a limited safety recall addressing floor mat entrapment, TOYOTA had actually conducted internal tests revealing that certain of its unrecalled vehicles bore design features rendering them just as susceptible to floor mat entrapment as some of the recalled vehicles. And only weeks before these statements were made, individuals within TOYOTA had taken steps to hide from its regulator [NHTSA] another type of unintended acceleration in its vehicles, separate and apart from floor mat entrapment: the sticky pedal problem."

Paragraph 8. "From the fall of 2009 through March 2010, TOYOTA misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about two safety-related issues affecting its vehicles, each of which caused a type of unintended acceleration."

Paragraph 11. "TOYOTA made these misleading statements and undertook these acts of concealment as part of efforts to defend its brand image in the wake of the fatal San Diego accident and the ensuing onslaught of critical press."

Toyota's own secret investigations plainly contradicted its public statements.

Paragraph 61. "The presentation that TOYOTA gave to NHTSA on January 19, 2010 downplayed the seriousness of reports of sticky pedal in Europe. When, after the presentation, a TOYOTA employee who attended the presentation reviewed the actual reports from Europe, and saw that they included such phrases as “‘out of control’” and “‘safety issue,’” he was said to exclaim “Idiots! Someone will go to jail if lies are repeatedly told. I can’t support this.”"

Ultimately, Toyota was fined $1.2 billion in the criminal complaint was dismissed. Tragically, people died and yet no one from Toyota or its "Customer Quality Engineering" division was held accountable. None of this can be found on the Toyota website, although it was signed off on by Christopher P. Reynolds, General Counsel for Toyota Motor North America, Inc., and Group Vice President for Toyota Motor Sales, Inc., Toyota's US sales division.

What you will find on Toyota's website are more Toyota slogans.

  • Let's go places.
  • Today tomorrow Toyota. (Europe)
  • Toyota. Moving forward.
  • The best built cars in the world.
  • Get the feeling!
  • Everyday.
  • Drive your dreams.
  • The car in front is a Toyota.
  • I love what you do for me, Toyota!
  • Who could ask for anything more?
  • Oh, what a feeling!
  • You asked for it! You got it!
  • Your new experience of motoring.

If you are concerned about safety, or just the integrity of automobile manufacturers, write to your senator or representative and say so. Tell them that NHTSA needs to be strengthened, and that the people who make decisions at Toyota and other manufacturers need to be held accountable.

You can get the contact information for your senator or representative by clicking on the links below.

If You Are Having This Problem

Please feel free to call (858) 270-7000 or contact us here.

San Diego Lemon Law Center | The Law Office of Michael E. Lindsey
Tel: (858) 270-7000 Fax: (858) 270-7710 | 4455 Morena Blvd., Ste. 207 San Diego, CA, 92117 (see map)

General Information Only

The information in the San Diego Lemon Law Center pages is for general information only and is not intended to be taken as legal advice. If you have a specific legal question or problem, please feel free to contact us or you should promptly consult with an Attorney handling such matters in your area for advice.