Toyota Faces Lawsuit for Faulty Hybrid Fuel Tanks

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Jan. 31, 2020—A class action lawsuit has been filed against Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (Toyota) for its sale of 2019 and 2020 RAV4 Hybrid vehicles with defective fuel tanks.

According to a press release, Toyota advertises and represents that the RAV4's fuel tank capacity is 14.5 gallons, and based on its 40 mpg rating, the RAV4's range should be 580 miles. However, according to news reports, customer complaints, and numerous reports filed by drivers with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the RAV4's fuel tank does not fill to the advertised capacity. Drivers report that the advertised 14.5 gallon tank will only accept 9-11 gallons. As a result, the RAV4's actual mileage range is approximately 380 to 440 miles, well below the estimated 580 range.

The problem may stem from the redesign of the RAV4 fuel tank from a longitudinal 14.8-gallon tank roughly shaped like a Native American papoose to a latitudinal, saddle-shaped design with a 14.5-gallon capacity, according to parts diagrams.

The lawsuit filed on Jan. 15, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeks monetary damages for purchasers and injunctive relief to prevent Toyota from selling the defective RAV4s.

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