NEW YORK -- General Motors paid at least $495 million to settle a string of lawsuits related to a line of pickup trucks that critics claim were prone to explosion, The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.
Citing a court document a federal judge late on Tuesday, the newspaper said GM paid an average of $1.6 million to settle each case. The document, which GM fought to keep sealed, refers to settlements reached before late 2000.
A representative of GM could not be reached early on Wednesday, and the document did not turn up in an online search of court records. The newspaper said the document was released by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula, Mont.
But the Los Angeles Times quoted GM spokesman Jay Cooney as saying the release of the document "set a dangerous precedent" because it could encourage defendants to fight cases in court rather than settle claims on product liability.
GM made more than 9 million C/K pickup trucks, which had fuel tanks mounted outside the truck's protective frame, the newspaper said. The vehicles were built from the 1973 through 1987 model years.