Toyota class-action lawsuit says melting dashboards won't be replaced for years.

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Toyota class-action lawsuit says melting dashboards won't be replaced for years.

— A Toyota sticky dashboard lawsuit alleges Toyota made empty promises with a dashboard warranty program that was created after two class-action lawsuits were filed in 2014.

South Carolina resident Wendy George says she has been waiting a year and eight months for the dashboard to be replaced in her 2004 Lexus RX 330.

Although two previous lawsuits were filed against Toyota about sticky melting dashboards, George specifically references a lawsuit filed by Melissa Graham, the owner of a 2009 Toyota Camry.

That lawsuit, Melissa Graham v. Toyota Motor Corp., et al., named the troublesome vehicles as the 2006-2008 Lexus ES, 2006-2008 Lexus IS and 2007-2009 Toyota Camry.

Graham claims her melting dashboard creates a sticky and glossy film that is a driving danger due to the reflection from the windshield. In the November 2014 lawsuit, Graham referenced a technical service sent to dealers concerning sticky and melting dashboards in 2006-2008 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 vehicles.

Titled “Interior Panels Sticky/Poor Appearance,” the bulletin said the cars “may exhibit sticky interior panels that have a shiny/degraded appearance. These conditions may be present on the Instrument Panel Pad and/or the Door Panel Trim. Revised interior panels have been developed to address this condition.”

The Graham complaint was dismissed after Toyota announced the warranty program for 3.5 million vehicles to replace melting sticky dashboards that get that way from heat and humidity.

The Wendy George dashboard lawsuit names the following affected vehicles in the Toyota sticky dashboard lawsuit:

  • 2003-2005 Toyota 4Runner
  • 2005-2010 Toyota Avalon
  • 2007-2011 Toyota Camry
  • 2007-2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna
  • 2004-2008 Toyota Solara
  • 2006-2008 Lexus ES 350
  • 2003-2008 Lexus GX 470
  • 2006-2008 Lexus IS 250/350
  • 2007 Lexus 460
  • 2004-2006 Lexus RX 330
  • 2007-2009 Lexus RX 350
  • 2005-2008 Lexus 400h

The automaker concedes the dashboards can melt but says the problem is only a cosmetic issue, not a safety issue, hence the reason no official recall has been ordered.

According to the lawsuit, when Toyota first announced the warranty program the automaker notified customers and said it could take months to gather the replacement parts. However, Toyota then sent a second notice that removed the information about a timeline for repairs.

The plaintiff says primary coverage of the warranty program expires on May 31, 2017, and there are millions of vehicles still left to be repaired. Secondary coverage supplements the primary coverage for "some owners" by offering the dashboard warranty program for 10 years from the date of first use.

According to the lawsuit, Toyota won't be able to repair all the vehicles within the 10-year time limit.

George says after waiting more than a year for the dashboard to be fixed, her dealership told her there were about 800 customers on the same waiting list and the dealer had received only about 25 replacement dashboards during the past six months. George asked if Toyota could get her vehicle repaired within five years and she was allegedly told there was no guarantee of that happening.

The lawsuit says if the number of parts received by the dealership over the past six months remains at the current rate, it will take about 16 years to repair the vehicles on the dealer waiting list. By that time the Lexus would likely be out of use.

The Toyota sticky dashboard lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina - Wendy George v. Toyota Motor Corp., et al.

The plaintiff is represented by Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC.

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