Toyota Set to Pay $16.4 Million Fine “To Avoid Litigation” on Sticky-Pedals

Toyota 10 Toyota Set to Pay $16.4 Million Fine To Avoid Litigation on Sticky Pedals
Today Toyota agreed to pay it’s relatively meaninglessly 16.4 million dollar fine regarding its sticky-pedal recall.

Meaningless not only because that the capped fine is less than a drop in the bucket to Toyota (Automotive News reports it will be below 2% of net income for the financial year ending March 31), but also because they’re side-stepping all real penalties in relation to the safety debacle they caused.

Without a cap, fines could have been up to $6,000 per vehicle, or $13.8 Billion total.

According to Toyota, “We agreed to this settlement in order to avoid a protracted dispute and possible litigation, as well as to allow us to move forward fully-focused on the steps to strengthen our quality assurance operations. This will allow us to focus on delivering safe, reliable, high quality vehicles for our customers and responding to consumer feedback with honesty and integrity.”

Toyota goes on to say they regret the NHTSA’s decision to seek the civil penalty, they in no way violated the Safety Act, and that they did not hide any safety defects.

Furthermore, new steps have been taken to make their improve quality assurance operations, including strengthening “information-gathering capabilities to respond more quickly to customer concerns and investigate potential quality issues more aggressively” (no word on how they did that) and appointing a Chief Quality Officer for North America.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood disagrees with Toyota a bit, saying, “”I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly…By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk.”

Toyota has 30 days to pay the fine, which is expected to be in the form of an electronic transfer.

After that little drop is paid off, Toyota has a couple more problems on its hands: 1) there may have been multiple defects, leading to more than just the one $16.4 million fine, and 2) the 180 lawsuits seeking class-action status and 57 individual suits “claiming injury or deaths” related to the recalls.

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