November 7, 2005
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Toyota Motor Corp. for selling defective "run-flat" tires on Sienna Minivans. "Run-flat" tires are designed to allow for limited continued driving after tire deflation. According to the auto defect lawsuit, these Dunlop-brand tires wear out after 10,000 miles or approximately one year of use. Toyota claims these "run-flat" tires are good for 30,000 miles and say they are unaware of any defects associated with these tires.
In 2004, Toyota sold 159,000 Sienna vehicles equipped with these allegedly defective tires and expects to sell the same number of Sienna minivans in 2005. These vehicles are not equipped with a spare tire, thus aggravating the problem of defective Dunlop tires, according to the claim. The lawsuit claims the defective tires cost vehicle owners at least $1,300 to replace.
Usually, a tire manufacturer is held responsible for the quality of the tires on a vehicle, not the vehicle manufacturer. This changed after high-profile case against Ford Motor Company and Firestone Tires in the 1990s. This case made auto makers responsible for ensuring that tires comply with overall vehicle performance.
Neither Toyota nor Goodyear has commented on the defective tire lawsuit allegations. This is not the first time that Toyota has been sued because of poor tire performance on their vehicles.
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