Lexus Class Action Lawsuit over ES 350 Airbags

Lexus ES 350 Interior

According to the BusinessWire, a civil action lawsuit has been filed against Lexus/Toyota, with the claim that the ES 350’s front passenger seat fails to register occupants, meaning that in the event of a crash, the front passenger airbag would not deploy:

At issue is the ES350’s airbag system, and specifically the systems’ airbag occupant classification sensor.

“All of the defective vehicles are equipped with a weight sensor system beneath the front passenger seat,” according to the suit. “The purpose of the sensor is to gauge the weight of the person in that seat.”

When the sensor detects the presence of a passenger, the suit claims, it arms the passenger airbag. But the suit alleges the ES350’s sensors are defective and often do not detect the presence of a passenger.

Whether this is suit is justified or not remains to be seen, but should there be a problem, the lawsuit doesn’t shrink away from trying to milk it for all it’s worth:

The suit wants Lexus to re-call and re-purchase the ES350s at their full cost; wants full refunds for those people who have leased their vehicles; wants the cars re-fitted with functioning airbag systems; and also asked for compensatory damages for all costs and loss of value.

Can’t say I understand asking for money due to “loss of value” while also expecting Lexus to buy the cars back at full cost, but it’s a lawyer’s world. The entire case makes me scratch my head, if this was exactly as stated, it stands as an incredibly large problem. Wouldn’t Lexus have already recalled these vehicles if there was any indication people would lose their lives?

Curious as to Lexus’ reaction to the lawsuit, I found the following quote in The Miami Herald:

“We stand behind the design and performance of our front air-bag system,” Lexus spokesman Greg Thome said.

Time will tell, and I’ll be following this case closely as it unfolds.