The complaint for this New Jersey class action introduces its allegations in stark terms: “This action concerns a dangerous defect in the low-pressure fuel pump … which can fail and cause Toyota’s most popular models … to unexpectedly stall and cause engine shut down even when the vehicle is at high speeds, presenting an immediate and unreasonable risk of physical injury or death.”
The class for this action is all persons or entities in New Jersey who owned or leased a Toyota or Lexus vehicle with the defective Denso low-pressure fuel pump.
The defendants in the case are a group of Toyota companies, including Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor North America, Inc. According to the complaint, the defective fuel pumps “cause unpredictable acceleration and engine stalls and render the [vehicles in question] unsafe to operate.”
Toyota has now issued three rounds of recalls, to include 1.8 million vehicles. As of the date of filing of this complaint, the vehicles included are all Toyota and Lexus models that use the Denso low-pressure fuel pumps and fuel pump assemblies, including pumps that begin with part number prefix 23220- and 23221-.
- 2013-2015 Lexus LS 460 sedans
- 2013-2015 Lexus GS 350 sedans
- 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUVs and Lexus IS-F sedans
- 2014-2015 Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Land Cruiser, Lexus GX 460, and Lexus LX 570 SUVs
- 2014-2015 Lexus IS350 sedans
- 2015 Lexus NX 200t SUVs and RC 350 coupes
- 2017 Lexus IS 200t sedans and RC 200t coupes
- 2017 and 2019 Toyota Sienna minivans and Lexus RX 350 SUVs
- 2018-2019 Lexus GS 300 sedans
- 2018-2019 Toyota Avalon, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Lexus ES 350, Lexus GS 350, Lexus IS 300, Lexus LS 500, Lexus LS500h, and Lexus IS 350 sedans
- 2018-2019 Toyota Highlander and Sequoia SUVs and Tacoma and Tundra trucks
- 2018-2019 Lexus LC 500, LC 500h, RC 300, and RC350 coupes and RX 350L SUVs
- 2020 Toyota Highlander
However, the complaint claims that other vehicles may be involved as well.
The low-pressure fuel pump, in the tank, pushes fuel into the fuel injection system; the impeller is a plastic disc that rotates, draws in fuel, and pushes it on to a second pump. The complaint alleges, “The Toyota Recalls described the defect as the impeller deforming which resulted in blockage of the flow of fuel to the engine.”
By the third recall, the description was more detailed, speaking of impellers “manufactured with lower density. If these impellers are also (1) of a type with lower surface strength or (2) of a different type [that] were exposed to production solvent drying for longer periods of time, higher levels of surface cracking may occur.” This may cause the impeller to absorb more fuel, leading to deformation. “In some cases, the impeller may deform to a point that creates sufficient interference with the fuel pump” that the fuel pump stops working.
The counts include breach of contract, breaches of warranties, and fraudulent concealment, among other things.