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Your Beef: A weighty question on Toyota Sienna

Published October 26, 2012
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Q: We purchased a 2011 Sienna new in July 2010. Two years later, we got a recall notice stating that the weight capacity had been reduced to 1,115 lbs. Exceeding this limit is dangerous. This no longer makes it a 7-passenger vehicle suitable for our needs.

We’d like this vehicle either brought up to purchase standards, replaced with a 7-passenger vehicle or our money refunded.

A: Melanie Testani, public relations manager for Toyota Canada, replies:

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

As you may know, your reader’s Sienna was involved in a special service campaign initiated by Toyota concerning the tire and loading information placard. That label indicates, among other things, the maximum load capacity for the vehicle (consisting of passengers and cargo) and tire pressure or inflation values based on indicated tire size.

Upon becoming aware that certain information on the placard in some Toyota Sienna models may have been incorrect, we took immediate steps to remedy the situation and notify our customers, including your reader.

We are reaching out to this customer now, so that we can understand and address their specific needs.

Q: I was going around a stopped car in a parking lot when that car suddenly moved forward, striking my passenger door with its front left corner. Damage is about $1000. There were no injuries.

Am I stuck paying for repairs? Will my insurer hike my rates if I make a claim?

A: Helen Lialias, media relations officer with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, replies:

On private property, where there are two parties with conflicting stories, typically, the fault will be 50/50.

The fault determination rules for automobiles in parking lots are summarized below.

In parking lots, the degree of fault for an incident on a thoroughfare shall be determined as if the thoroughfare were a road.

If automobile “A” is leaving a feeder lane and fails to yield the right of way to automobile “B” on a thoroughfare, then driver “A” is 100 per cent at fault and driver “B” is not at fault.

If automobile “A” is leaving a parking space and fails to yield the right of way to automobile “B” on a feeder lane or a thoroughfare, then driver “A” is 100 per cent at fault and driver “B” is not at fault.

In this section, “feeder lane” means a road in a parking lot other than a thoroughfare;

“Thoroughfare” means a main road for passage into, through or out of a parking lot.

Eric Lai adds:

It sounds like a “conflicting statements (he said-she said)” scenario as both sides will surely lay fault squarely upon the other. That is, the stationary driver will likely claim to have been in motion when the other driver cut in and the other will no doubt say he was already re-entering the lane when the stationary car abruptly moved forward causing the impact.

Had this incident occurred on a public roadway, instead of private property, HTA charges of “pass — not in safety” and/or “start from stopped position — not in safety” might apply.

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