Yamaha Allocates Funds for Rhino Product Liability

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Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. has set aside $210.3 million to fund what it calls "product liability responsibility" associated with claims logged against its Rhino side-by-side vehicles (SSVs). The OEM also has allocated $31.9 million to fund the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's call to modify the SSVs.

More than 200 lawsuits attributed to the Rhino are known to have been filed in various state and federal courts throughout the United States. While discovery is still taking place regarding MDL litigation that consolidates individual lawsuits filed in federal court, the company has already settled several individual cases.

In March, Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. announced it would be offering a free repair program to address what the CPSC called "safety issues" regarding the Rhino. Owners were asked to stop using about 120,000 units of the Rhino 450 and 650 sold since Fall 2003 and about 25,000 units of the Rhino 700 model until repairs could be made to add a spacer onto the rear wheels, remove the rear anti-sway bar to reduce the risk of a rollover, and continue installation of half doors and additional passenger handholds where these features were not previously installed.

—Submitted by Guido Ebert