Toyota pays additional $32.4 million in fines to the NHTSA

Toyota has paid an additional $32.425 million in fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration due to the poor timeliness of certain recalls.

Back in April, Toyota was issued a $16.375 million fine by the NHTSA for delaying the unintended acceleration recall. Now though, they are paying two separate fines, adding up to $32.4 million. One is related to the timeliness of a steering relay rod recall back in 2005, and the second fine is again related to the delay of their unintended acceleration recall.

However, as with the last fine, Toyota is paying up “without admitting to any violation of its obligations under the U.S. Safety Act.”

All fines issued to Toyota so far are the maximum fines permitted by US law, and add up to $48.8 million. While that’s quite bad, things may get worse, as the NHTSA is still running various investigations which may lead to more fines.

Press Release

Toyota Issues Statement Regarding NHTSA Settlement

Dec. 20, 2010 — Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced today that it has reached two settlement agreements with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration related to the timeliness of recalls conducted by the company in 2005 to address potential concerns with steering relay rods and from 2007 to early 2010 to address the potential for pedal entrapment by unsecured, incompatible or improperly installed floor mats. Toyota has agreed to pay $32.425 million as part of these settlements, without admitting to any violation of its obligations under the U.S. Safety Act.

Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s Chief Quality Officer for North America, said:

“Toyota is pleased to have resolved these legacy issues related to the timeliness of prior recalls dating back to 2005. All 30,000 of our U.S. team members, and the tens of thousands of Americans at dealers and suppliers across the country, have worked very hard over the past year to put these issues behind us and set a new standard of responsiveness to our customers. These agreements are an opportunity to turn the page to an even more constructive relationship with NHTSA and focus even more on listening to our customers and meeting their high expectations for safe and reliable vehicles.

“As we have demonstrated in recent months, our North American operations now have a greater voice in making safety decisions, and we are taking appropriate action whenever any issues emerge. We’ve substantially strengthened our ability to investigate customer concerns through our rapid-response SMART evaluation process and other measures. And, we are continuing to equip our vehicles with advanced features, including our Star Safety System and Smart Stop Technology, both of which are standard on all new models sold in the U.S.

“We are grateful to Toyota drivers for their confidence in the quality and reliability of our vehicles, as reflected in our position as America’s leading retail auto brand. In keeping with the values that have always defined Toyota, we will always put our customers first in everything that we do.”

Source: Toyota and Automotive News – sub. req.

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