Toyota has agreed to make a payment of $17.35 million to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is “to settle claims related to the timeliness of its June 2012 recall to address the potential for accelerator pedal entrapment caused by unsecured or incompatible driver’s side floor mat in the 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h, without admitting to any violation of its obligations under the U.S. Safety Act.,” as a Toyota statement says. (Read More…)
Remember how Toyota was slapped with a $16.4m fine for allegedly withholding information and delaying recalls? Remember how Toyota was served again with a subpoena for information, what many read as the prelude for another $16.4m fine? (If anyone again says that $16,4m is pocket change, please send me the pocket change.) Well, there are some people in Washington who claim that it’s the U.S. government that might be withholding information. (Read More…)
A lawsuit brought in California against Toyota led to the disclosure of allegedly damning documents that could cost Toyota another huge fine if the documents contain what the lawyers say. Unless lawyers (or the media) were asleep at the wheel. According to USA Today, these documents “point to possible delays involving an earlier safety issue, one that could result in loss of steering control.” USA Today says records that are part of the lawsuit show that Toyota was dealing with cracking and breaking steering relay rods in the U.S. for at least 11 years before it recalled 330,000 pickups and SUVs in Japan to replace the rods — and 12 years before its 2005 recall of nearly a million similar trucks in the U.S.
Sounds kind of familiar. I’m not suffering from Alzheimer yet, so let’s go on a fact-finding mission to the TTAC archives … (Read More…)
Talk about timing: While Trans Sec LaHood was in Japan yesterday, ostensibly to look a trainsets, while he toured Toyota instead and uttered dark “time will tell” threats, while he said that his people are still working on the evidence for a second $16.4m federal fine, back in Washington, the timer was set for yet another ticking 16.4 mega-tonne bomb. (Read More…)
The Detroit Free Press got its hands on draft auto safety legislation drawn up by Senators Waxman and Rockefeller, and aimed at preventing another Toyota recall-style scandal. In addition to mandating brake override systems on all cars sold in the US, The Freep says the bill would require that
[NHTSA] come up with rules for space between the brake and accelerator pedals, gear shift designs and stop-start systems – all problems highlighted by the Toyota probe. Automakers would be required to build vehicles with event data recorders that could be easily read, a step Detroit automakers made several years ago but that Toyota and other foreign brands have resisted.
Despite the Freep’s attempt at making the bill sound like it’s only going to affect Toyota and other non-Detroit automakers, there is plenty in the proposed legislation that could hurt any automaker.
Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay a $16.4 million civil fine levied by the U.S. government, reports The Nikkei [sub]. They will not admit any wrongdoing and can claim that they never admitted to knowingly hiding defects from regulators, said a senior U.S. Transportation Department official. On Friday, it wasn’t clear whether the DOT would accept the dough with a deal attached. (Read More…)
On April 5, the NHTSA levied their largest civil penalty in recorded history. $16,375,000 against Toyota, because “they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families.” When we reported that, people thought Toyota would just appeal and drag it out. Not so easy, said The Nikkei [sub]. Toyota is between a rock and a hard place: “Admitting to the charge could strengthen the cases of car owners suing the firm, while refuting it risks inflaming U.S. public opinion.” Toyota found a way out. (Read More…)
While Toyota has recall troubles in one of their largest markets, elsewhere in the world, another carmaker has serious recall troubles in one of their biggest markets. We usually don’t comment on each and every recall everywhere, but this one warrants mention: Brazil’s Justice Ministry has fined Fiat’s Brazilian subsidiary 3 million Reais (about $1.7 million) for failing to comply with four recall orders. Fiat had been asked to recall Stilo models to fix a wheel problem that may (note the key word “may”) have caused 8 deaths since 2004, says Business Week. No recall followed. (Read More…)
Motorists who receive minor parking or traffic tickets in Indianapolis, Indiana are being threatened with fines of up to $2500 if they attempt to take the ticket to court. A local attorney with the firm Roberts and Bishop was so outraged by what he saw in Marion County traffic court that he filed a class action suit yesterday seeking to have the practice banned as unconstitutional.