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Toyota agrees to pay $16.4 million fine

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Toyota agrees to pay $16.4 million fine

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington -- Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to pay the largest-ever fine in history for failing to recall 2.3 million vehicles for at least four months.

"By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly.

"We are continuing to investigate whether the company has lived up to all its disclosure obligations."

Toyota didn't immediately issue a statement. It has been in talks with NHTSA since Wednesday, as it sought language in the agreement that would allow it to deny wrongdoing while paying the fine and putting the matter behind it.

The $16.375 million fine for Toyota is the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an auto manufacturer by NHTSA over its sticky pedal recall issued on Jan. 21. Five days later, Toyota stopped sale of 60 percent of its vehicles in the United States because it didn't have a fix.

The fine is also the most allowed by law. If there wasn't a cap on fines, NHTSA said it could have assessed a $6,000 per vehicle penalty -- or $13.8 billion.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said in an interview Friday a higher cap on fines of "way more than $100 million" would be helpful as the agency negotiates with automakers.

On Feb. 16, NHTSA launched an investigation into the timeliness and scope of the three recent Toyota recalls and required the automaker to turn over documents and explanations related to its adherence to U.S. auto safety laws. NHTSA officials are continuing to review Toyota's statements and more than 120,000 pages of Toyota documents to determine whether the company has complied with all its legal obligations.

NHTSA could impose several additional fines over Toyota's handling of its recalls.

Toyota is expected to turn over at least another 100,000 pages of records today to comply with NHTSA's request for records into whether it recalled enough vehicles in its sudden acceleration recalls -- which include 5.4 million in the United States for pedal entrapment issues.

Toyota faces more than 200 civil lawsuits, along with a criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York and a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission in Los Angeles.

A House oversight panel is set to hold another hearing on May 6 into Toyota's conduct

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100419/AUTO01/4190391/1148/Toyota-agrees-to-pay-$16.4-million-fine#ixzz0lYP0ObvR

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Toyota to pay $16.4M fine

It isn't expected to admit fault in recall

BY JUSTIN HYDE

FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF

Comments (33) Recommend Print E-mail Letter to the editor Share

WASHINGTON -- Toyota is expected to agree today to pay a $16.4-million fine to the U.S. government for delaying the recall of 2.3 million vehicles with a defect that could trigger sudden acceleration.

The move is expected to fuel the scores of lawsuits pending against the Japanese automaker in the U.S. over thousands of sudden-acceleration claims and defects linked to nearly 40 deaths. It also won't spare Toyota from facing more fines by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or probes by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Toyota is not expected to admit any wrongdoing in handling problems with accelerator pedals that could stick, but U.S. officials pledge to press the automaker further.

"By paying the full civil penalty, Toyota is accepting responsibility for hiding this safety defect from NHTSA, in violation of the law," said a senior U.S. Department of Transportation official who requested anonymity.

Toyota officials could not be reached for comment.

The fine, the largest allowed under federal law, is a pittance to Toyota, a global conglomerate with about $25 billion in cash on hand. But the message sent by the fine -- the largest ever levied by U.S. auto safety regulators -- will inevitably cost the automaker far more in reputation, legal bills and other damages.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100419/BUSINESS06/4190435/1331/business01/Toyota-to-pay-16.4M-fine

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Toyota reportedly set to pay $16.4M federal fine

by Jonathon Ramsey (RSS feed) on Apr 18th 2010 at 9:36PM

According to a report by Automotive News, Toyota is ready to pay the $16.4 million fine levied against the company by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration... on one condition: the company wouldn't be required to admit wrongdoing. If the NHTSA goes for that, apparently it can stuff its coffers; if not, the report suggests there's a chance Toyota could appeal the fine on the day it's due, Monday, April 19.

Paying a fine without admitting wrongdoing is a standard practice, and we can understand Toyota holding out for that caveat if that's what's really happening. More perplexing is that the same report states that Toyota agreed to the fine in order to help it move on and rebuild its brand. If it can't get what it wants and it appeals, and the NHTSA digs in for a fight – and remember, there's a potential second fine on the horizon – we're not sure how much the fighting-for-our-corporate-rights approach would help.

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/04/18/toyota-reportedly-set-to-pay-16-4m-federal-fine/

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Toyota is ready to pay the $16.4 million fine levied against the company by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration... on one condition: the company wouldn't be required to admit wrongdoing. If the NHTSA goes for that, apparently it can stuff its coffers; if not, the report suggests there's a chance Toyota could appeal the fine on the day it's due, Monday, April 19

I seem to recall something about another thread where I posted that, with money, one could get away with just about anything.

This type of 'plea bargaining' is meant purely for marketing and anti-litigation. I never can appreciate how throwing money out to the government is an acceptable conclusion for things like this. Granted, we're not talking about a toxic spill or contaminating a water supply; however, it always made me wonder why this practice is still acceptable in today's society.

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