By on February 10, 2014

37146460

Reuters and The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Toyota Motor Corp. and the United States Department of Justice are close to a deal that would resolve a criminal investigation into how it disclosed to government regulators customers’ complaints about unintended acceleration. The Journal is reporting that the settlement would involve Toyota paying as much as $1 billion in fines, ending a four year investigation. Sources say that the deal could still fall apart, or the amount of money involved could change.

A Toyota spokesperson said in an emailed statement, “Toyota continues to cooperate with the U.S. attorney’s office in this matter. And in the nearly four years since this inquiry began, we’ve made fundamental changes to become more responsive and customer focused, and we’re committed to continue to improve.”

The investigation, launched by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, is looking into whether Toyota made false or incomplete disclosures to U.S. regulators about possible car defects. Prosecutors are also looking into possible mail fraud and wire fraud in connection to those disclosures.

The criminal case only adds to what has been a deeply embarrassing incident for Toyota, which formerly had a sterling reputation for reliability with consumers. The company recently settled an economic loss class action suit brought by customers who claimed their cars’ residual values had been harmed by the massive recall Toyota initiated in 2009 in response to the unintended acceleration issue. Toyota still faces hundreds of lawsuits over the matter, including wrongful death suits.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

46 Comments on “Toyota Reportedly Near $1B Settlement of Unintended Acceleration Criminal Probe...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    So they (lawyers) are still trying to say that “Unintended Acceleration” is a real thing? What, they found out they ‘re couldn’t sue for boring?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      This is about Toyota saving money and boasting about it by not recalling cars as a result of negotiations. Then putting a letter out about it.

      Unfortunately the first source I found was a UK paper, not a US source. Toyota is becoming a master in cleaning up their mess and US journalist not reporting it. So yes, the US Government is actually here to help:

      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/feb/22/toyota-memo-safety

      • 0 avatar
        RogerB34

        Toyota unintended acceleration incidents were determined to be driver error. NASA did one review of their system and found no engineering deficiencies. The ECM captures pertinent data including brake and acceleration. The evidence shows driver error. A mat shoved under the accelerator isn’t an engineering failure and same for the operator not knowing how to shut down a button engine start vehicle.
        The $1B fine is because Toyota did not notify NHTSA timely of accidents and complaints of unintended acceleration.
        Toyota did issue directives and changes in response.
        The 1B fine is clearly excessive.
        The flap has become a gold mine for lawyers and the U.S. Government.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Toyota says unintended acceleration is a real thing. They admitted that pedals could stick at full throttle. Well, they eventually admitted it. That’s one of the reasons they’re in trouble. They denied the issue existed, while they were actively recalling cars in Europe for the exact same issue. They got caught in a lie.

      Unfortunately, all the false claims and ambulance chasers distracted from a real problem.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    1 Billion? That sounds excessive to me. Dontcha love how the gov can simply add “criminal” to these charges to scare up more cash? Seems like there is a lot of that going on. I am not saying Toyota is innocent but some things you hear lately are more money driven than anything else. If guilty, yes, they should pay a fine. One billion dollars though? Really? I would think that wrongful death suits would cover the rest.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    So BP and Haliburton can poison the entire Gulf of Mexico and pay $20 mio fine and some peopleotoo stupid to step on the break generates $1 billion?

    If I recall correctly there was no single proven case of UI, this fine is just for not reporting the non-existent UI fast enough.

    Way to treat foreign companies that don’t contribute to campaigns.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      There was definitely a different design for US spec cars explained on this site:

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/02/why-toyota-must-replace-flawed-cts-gas-pedal-with-superior-denso-pedal/

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The BP fine was on the order of $20 billion, not million. The Gulf of Mexico naturally leaks on the order of a million barrels of oil a year and is full of organisms that consume the leaked oil.

      http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/04/08/study-oil-eating-bacteria-mitigated-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_seep#In_the_Gulf_of_Mexico

      The BP 5 million barrel oil spill definitely messed up beaches, but “poisoned the entire Gulf of Mexico” is an exaggeration.

      I’d like to know what was wrong with Kevin Haggerty’s 2007 Toyota Avalon. His case is unique in that he claims to have driven his car to a Toyota dealership while UI was occurring, allowing a mechanic to witness it. He was 45 years old and seems unlikely to have simply pressed on the wrong pedal since he regained control by shifting to neutral.

      http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/UA/101012Haggerty.pdf

  • avatar
    mor2bz

    Toyota should save face and fight the shysters purveying these frivolous unfounded lawsuits.

    Their bending bowing and scraping only makes them look guilty.

    I got an answer for you Toyota
    when you are ready to accept outside help: David Sundby sundbyd2@gmail.com

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    Blackmail is legal, as long as you’re the Government.

    My opinion: Government is trying to save face; however, there isn’t a “smoking gun” to nail Toyota with. And when you (US Gov) just spent insane amounts of taxpayer money to bail out the “domestic” brands, stack the deck against the competitors.

    It’s all about who you know, and how much money you line their wallet with today.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      What you fail to realize is that there are hundreds of thousands of workers IN AMERICA working for companies like Toyota. Why the hell would the government want them unemployed?

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        GM, Ford, and Chrysler, and the UAW spend millions of dollars per year on lobbyists and campaign contributions every year, and have for decades. The lobbyists give money to politicians in both parties after skimming some off the top for themselves. BTW, the lobbyists are usually ex legislators, congressional staff, or regulators. This is how dangerous and crappy cars can be sold with little fear of governmental repercussions.

        Toyota, Honda, etc. did not understand how the game is played. Now their understanding is about $1billion clearer.

  • avatar
    nationwidejim

    The fine has nothing to do with whether or not there was a problem with untended acceleration — Toyota is going to pay a fine because they failed to report the issue. One more example of where the cover-up was much more expensive than the problem

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Buying a UAW car supports fascism.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      the recall trend hasn’t stopped for Toyota and has actually increased:

      http://m.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2010/112_1001_toyota_recall_crisis/

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @CJinSD….fascism….really?…Godwins law come into play.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Godwin’s law is a ploy perpetuated by people who know what they’re doing and that they need a way to prevent people from calling a spade a spade.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          At the very least, comparing everything to Hitler lacks creativity.

          It makes you look weak, frankly. But hey, if that’s what you want, then who am I to argue?

          Perhaps TTAC should have a Gone Godwin Day, in which everything is compared to Hitler and Nazism. Then maybe it would become obvious how dumb it really is.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Assuming you’re not completely brainwashed, it just might be a great help to you. Comparing everything to national socialism just might let you see how the actions of a president that ignores the constitution, relies on ethnic hatred and ignorance for his support, peddles divisions of the people he is supposed to serve, perversely prioritizes flora and fauna over people, has no use for the truth about anything, orders an economy to put wealth in the hands of his chosen, panders to the organized crime elements of labor, presides over an explosion of a militarized police state, uses regulatory arms to punish and neutralize his political adversaries, is arming for a war on the people of his country, and is using his position to cripple global stability has more in common with Hitler than does…say…the owner of Gibson Guitars.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        CJ’s point nonwithstanding — personally, I’d call it cronyism — you do realize that Godwin’s Law refers to Naziism, right? And that Naziism and fascism are two entirely different things, even though they may have occasionally shared a page or two in a long-forgotten high school history book?

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @darkwing…I do understand the difference.

          I just don’t see how CJ’s comment, relates to the topic. The UAW conspiracy thing, just gets a little tiresome after awhile.

          If Toyota is innocent, of any, and all wrong doing, why don’t they fight it?

          The Audi UA was proven wrong. Was it Dateline, that got caught rigging GM gas tanks to blow up?

          I will always believe that Toyota knew that they had an issue. Toyota did not handle it well. They got caught.

          So now Toyota writes a big check, and the problem goes away. Would GM, Ford or Chrysler have done the same thing?

          They have, and they fixed the problem the
          same way.

          Toyota is no better, or worse than any other large company. They got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

          Then they bought their way out of it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The problem with unintended acceleration is that absolving oneself requires that the customer be blamed.

            Audi learned firsthand how that isn’t a good business strategy. Even if the customers are at fault, an automaker can’t afford to point the finger at those who are spending the money.

      • 0 avatar

        You do realize that fascism is an intellectual movement that underpins liberalism and statism, right? Right?

        Time for a new law that godwins anyone invoking Godwin.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          Ok…I’m now feeling properly chastised, and re educated.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Let me guess – you never studied political science.

          (Hint: fascism is considered to be a right-wing movement.)

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The original political spin. Orwell wasn’t looking to the future when he illustrated how statists pervert language to strip people of their ability to comprehend reality. The only difference between ‘right wing’ socialism and ‘liberal’ socialism is that the Axis socialists didn’t want to wait for global revolution. How long will the UN wait for it?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You guys are hilarious. Not only are you ignorant, but you take some pride in it.

            Orwell was a socialist. He volunteered to fight in Spain against the Franco-led right-wing fascists (who were supported by the Nazis and opposed by the Soviets.)

            Incidentally, the Pledge of Allegiance was also written by a socialist.

            Socialism is (a) not a philosophy with which everyone on the left agrees and (b) obviously not what you think it is. Socialists and fascists have a historical track record of trying to kill each other because they hold very different philosophies.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            There was plenty of infighting within the Soviet Union too. The differences that arose between marxists and national socialists were just power struggles.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Again, your ignorance of politics is something to behold, and only brings you humiliation and embarrassment.

            CJ logic in action:

            -I like ice cream, including chocolate ice cream
            -But I dislike vanilla ice cream
            -Therefore, vanilla ice cream isn’t ice cream

            The definition of leftist is not “things that CJ doesn’t like.” There are small-L libertarian and authoritarian wings of both the right and the left, and fascism is one variant of right-wing authoritarianism.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Explain to me satisfactorily how a centrally planned economy, redistributionism, animal rights, atheism, and state sponsorship of the arts are right wing ideas. Nazis were a combination of nationalism and socialism. The idea that nationalism allows the same poison progressive ideas that kill tens of millions of people everywhere else they crop up to be blamed on conservatives is mass delusion.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Anyone who tries to make modern American liberalism – or conservatism, for that matter – an outgrowth of fascism belies one thing and one thing only: an excess of nap time on that fine day in tenth grade when the teacher actually explained what fascism is.

          That, or excessive time listening to Rush Limbaugh.

          Take your pick.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Why does this always come up?

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @28-Cars-Later…I don’t know why. I know I’m not going to stray into that mine field again.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Because, carblog

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Because some people can’t have a political disagreement without hating the person they’re disagreeing with…for no better reason than the disagreement itself.

          Ironically, that’s straight out of the playbook of the best known fascist in history – and I don’t think I need to remind everyone who that was.

        • 0 avatar
          Senna1

          Because the far right-wing has decided to re-write history in a blatant attempt to categorize all things evil or negative as being leftist, or a result of leftist thinking.

          In their minds, there is no such thing as ‘radical’ or ‘extreme’ right-wing thinking. The further right you go, you just go from ‘good’ to ‘better’ towards ‘best’. In other words, the extreme right is the ideal, and any deviation from it should be criticized.

          Those of us who spend our time in reality generally recognize that the extremists of EITHER end of the political spectrum are generally dangerous ideologues. And that there are plenty of historic examples from BOTH sides.

          It’s a great way of filtering posts though. Anyone who claims that a single ideology (which they, naturally, oppose) is responsible for all forms of degenerate human behavior isn’t worth listening to on any issue requiring critical thought, because they clearly aren’t capable of it.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Mvqi-ZoAq8

            A nice video about a hero of today’s progressives.

          • 0 avatar
            Senna1

            Case in point above. Find a dictionary and look up “satire” and “reductio ad absurdum”.

            Even if you believe Shaw was serious (lol), how are his comments any more heinous than the multitude of right-wing personalities who line up on TV claiming that disease and disaster that strikes the US is justified “punishment” from God for our sins.

            Like I said; extremists on both sides = bad news.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Shaw was making a joke about eugenicide in 1933? Was he also joking when he said, “Mussolini… Hitler and the rest can all depend on me to judge them by their ability to deliver the goods and not by… comfortable notions of freedom.” Asked what Britons should do if the Nazis crossed the channel into Britain, Shaw replied, “Welcome them as tourists.”

            It is interesting to me that you both dismiss and rationalize simultaneously in the effort to avoid reality. Shaw didn’t make philosophical distinctions between the competing expressions of progressivism. Then, as now, the ends justified the means for Stalin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the rest.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Unions are fascist?

      Interesting thesis, given that one of the first thing REAL fascists do is to go after labor unions. It was one of the very first things Hitler did when he seized office.

      That’s OK, I’m sure the nap CJ took during history class the day they talked about that was all worth it to him.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      In the end, the problem is TOTALITARIANISM, not fascism per se. Totalitarian regimes have ruled from the left and the right. The difference is that under leftist totalitarianism, no one owns property or any means of production; under right wing totalitarianism, private enterprise and capital is allowed, at gunpoint.

      The bottom line in either case is a government that doesn’t give its people any kind of voice. It means absolute control. Either way, it bears very little resemblance to what we have here.

      It doesn’t mean spying, or special interests making voters less powerful, or surveillance, or any of the things happening here that are of legitimate concern. Those things DEMEAN our democracy, but they do not do away with it, and with political pressure and the courts, they can be dealt with. Try that in a dictatorship, and you’d simply disappear.

      And that’s what folks like the cranks on this thread JUST DON’T GET. Hell, under a true authoritarian regime, THEY’D be dead by now. THAT’S what fascism is. Crack a history book, fellas.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Kill fascist UAW members?

  • avatar
    AlternateReality

    Wow, this just hit the newswires…

    February 10, 2014 (Toyota City, Japan) – Toyota Motor Corporation, a manufacturer of safe, high-quality and insanely reliable motor vehicles for discerning customers around the world, issued the following statement today regarding a reported settlement between TMC and the United States government over alleged incidents of unintended acceleration in certain Toyota-branded vehicles:

    “TMC deeply regrets that a few idiots, who clearly had little to no understanding of the proper means to control a motor vehicle, lost their lives while operating our products. To ensure that such events involving vehicles produced by Toyota or its numerous affiliated companies never occur again, TMC announces a one-time incentive of up to $1,000 for any surviving idiots who wish to replace their Toyota-badged product with a vehicle branded as a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Ford, Lincoln, Dodge, RAM, or Chrysler.

    “In addition to providing additional incentive for morons to discontinue any further association with TMC in the eyes of the public, the Company also wholeheartedly believes this settlement agreement fulfills the U.S. government’s publicly unstated, though clearly evident, motive of encouraging sales of domestically-branded vehicles.

    “In further keeping with the spirit of this agreement, TMC will also, upon request, provide a complimentary “Hillary ’16″ bumper sticker to assist other motorists in better identifying vehicles under control of an idiot.

    “Please note the only stipulation outside this agreement involves those idiots proclaiming a desire to purchase a Fiat-derived Dodge or Chrysler vehicle. Rather than the cash incentive, these individuals will instead be provided with a small firearm loaded with a single bullet, and a maximum of five (5) minutes of solitude in a quiet room to contemplate this and other poor decisions made by the idiot throughout his or her lifetime.

    “Additional details about this offer – outlined in small, easily-understood words not exceeding three syllables – are provided in the following incentive list.

    “Toyota Motor Corp. believes its vehicles should be owned and operated solely by responsible and prudent customers. It is the Company’s official position that all other and clearly inferior denizens of the United States of America can respectfully, from this point forward, go f*** themselves.”

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    One billion dollar punitive levy? is this why Mr Toyoda himself announced that Toyota Australia decided to shut down yesterday after 60 years???
    It was the first Toyota plant outside of Japan.
    Our Government will no longer hand over tax payers cash to support the likes of Ford,Mitsubishi ,GM et al.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India