Toyota vehicle owners in the US have been granted the right to pursue claims that the world’s largest automotive manufacturer caused their vehicle’s value to decrease.
A number of owners in the US are arguing that Toyota has not disclosed information about sudden unintended acceleration of its vehicles related to a fault in the electronic throttle control system, and has not issued a recall to fix the defect.
Toyota claims there is no such defect with any of its vehicles and denies that there is any evidence of electronic defaults.
Over the past 18 months, more than 18 million Toyota Motor Corp vehicles have been recalled around the world, with sticking accelerator pedals and sliding floor mats found to be the cause in the majority of cases.
In February, the US Department of Public Transport found after a 10-month investigation that there was no fault with the electronic throttle control systems used in Lexus or Toyota vehicles.
Despite this, the ruling by US District Judge James means that Toyota owners will be able to pursue Toyota for loss of vehicle value.
“Taking these allegations as true, as the court must at the pleading stage, they establish an economic loss," Judge Selna wrote."A vehicle with a defect is worth less than one without a defect.”
Toyota spokeswoman Celeste Migliore said the ruling meant Toyota owners would now have to find evidence that there was an electronic defect with the vehicles.
“The burden is now squarely on plaintiffs' counsel to prove their allegations, and Toyota is confident that no such proof exists,” Ms Migliore said.
No vehicles sold by Toyota Motor Corp in Australia were affected by the sticking accelerator or floor mat recalls.