Posted on 19 Apr 2010
Toyota Motor Corp., the world's biggest carmaker, agreed to pay a record $16.4 million U.S. fine for failing to promptly report flaws with vehicle accelerator pedals as it denied breaking safety rules.
Toyota did not admit wrongdoing, and the fine does not release Toyota from civil or criminal actions. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the carmaker, by crash victims and relatives of people killed in crashes, seeking billions of dollars.
The company, which recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide for defects that may cause unintended acceleration, is paying the fine to avoid “a protracted dispute and possible litigation,” according to a Toyota statement today. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the company’s settlement showed it was acknowledging its failings.
“I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly,” LaHood said in an e-mailed statement. “By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk.”
Toyota's actions are also under investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.