More Fines Coming For Toyota?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
more fines coming for toyota

The Detroit Free Press sure seems to think it’s “possible.” The paper reports that NHTSA’s “final notification” to Toyota includes a warning that it “would have faced a fine totaling $13.8 billion were it not for caps set by U.S. law on NHTSA penalties.” But then, that’s a bit like Toyota saying it would have manufactured its pedals to space shuttle specification if it didn’t cost so much money to do so. Six paragraphs into the piece, the Freep concedes that

NHTSA said it could issue another fine depending on whether it decides the problems with sticking pedals are technically two separate defects, based on the manufacturing changes made by Toyota.

The AP reports that documents obtained by NHTSA say Toyota acknowledges CTS-manufactured pedals “had two separate defects that may require two separate remedies.” But that’s not all, folks…

According to the Freep:

The agency has two other probes under way into Toyota’s recall of 5.4 million vehicles for floor mats that could trigger sudden acceleration and its general handling of sudden acceleration complaints; each of those probes could also generate additional fines.

Meanwhile, NHTSA’s investigation clearly wasn’t perfect. The NYT Wheels blog reports that Toyota Canada has refuted the DOT’s assessment that “[sticky pedal] repair procedures sent by Toyota to its Canadian operation as well as to distributors in 31 European countries last Sept. 29 showed that the company knew about the issue much earlier.” The DOT responded by clarifying that Toyota Canada was actually informed on October 7th, but Toyota Canada says that notice was in regards to floor mats, rather than sticky pedals. If true, this could bolster Toyota’s case that communication problems, rather than a willful coverup, caused delay to the US recall. Still, documents showing that Toyota knew about floor mat problems since February 2006 [via Bloomberg] could be a trigger for a second round of fines.

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  • Carquestions Carquestions on Apr 10, 2010

    No Risk No Recall – It all hinges on legal definitions and semantics of the words “unreasonable” and “risk” as stated in the law. From NHTSA “What is a safety defect” - United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety (Title 49, Chapter 301) defines motor vehicle safety as “the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.” The problem for the government is they have complaints, they have labratory testing and internal company memos from Toyota but they do not have a single real world example of a component that has caused an accident or injury. This is a huge legal hurdle for the government. A few years ago Transport Canada told me that Ford didn’t have to order a recall for broken coil springs that punctured tires on Windstars because the springs mainly failed when parked and this didn’t constitute undue risk or an immediate threat to safety. Today NHTSA lists (01I007000) a 98 Windstar as having a Safety Improvement Campaign – not a recall! If this is the standard Toyota needs to meet with a sticky pedal then they too can get the “Not a Recall” designation. The bottom line is that if NHTSA and TC can't find real world examples of a faulty part or system that has caused an accident then how could anyone reasonably infer there is a risk to public safety? Of the 100's of investigations conducted in the past few months alone, none have concluded anything but driver error. 10 minutes ago · Edit Post · Delete Post

  • Eastcoastcar Eastcoastcar on Apr 10, 2010

    It amazes me that the U.S. banks and Wall Street could trash the U.S. and world economy and instead of being fined, they got 21 trillion taxpayer dollars to 'get well,' but Toyota is told they 'could' have been fined 13bn dollars. So this means that if the U.S. banks had manufactured the defective accelerator assemblies, they would have been fined huge amounts of money, right? And perhaps some executives could have been jailed? As of now, a 'defective credit default swap' scheme that trashes the economy is seen as less damaging than a defective accelerator assembly. Truly astonishing, to me at least. Maybe I'm easily astonished.

  • Alan I blame COVID, the chip shortage, container shortage and the war in Ukraine. This aggression is evident in normal daily driving of late.
  • Alan $10 000 is a bit rich for a vehicle that most likely been flogged all its life, plus it's a VW. Lots of electrical gremlins live in them.
  • Alan Mitsubishi, Hino and Izuzu trucks are quite common in Australia. Another factor that needs to be taken into account are the cheap Chinese trucks and vans that are entering the market in Australia and becoming more popular as reliability improves, with huge warranties. Businesses want the cheapest logistics. Plumbers, concreters, builders buy many of these in their lightest versions, around 2.5 tonne payload. Hino/Toyota could use the cheaper competitor in Mitsubishi as a competitor against the Chinese. You don't see too many of the Japanese/Asian trucks in the rural areas.
  • 2ACL I think it's a good choice. The E89 didn't get respect due to its all-around focus when new, but it's aged well, and the N52/6HP combo is probably more fun and capable than it's given credit for.
  • Wjtinfwb I can hear the ticking from here...