The Shakedown Continues: Toyota Could Cough Up Another $16.4 Mil Over 6 Year Old Truck

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
the shakedown continues toyota could cough up another 16 4 mil over 6 year old

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.

The DOT said Monday it will launch an investigation into whether Toyota Motor Corp. waited too long before recalling its T100 pickup truck in the U.S. , reports The Nikkei [sub]. The 6 year old case could cost Toyota the third $16.4m fine. Soon, we’ll be talking about real money.

The allegations: In 2004, Toyota recalled the truck, known as Hilux Surf, in Japan. Steering rods were subject to fatigue, cracks and breaks. In the U.S., the truck wasn’t recalled. Toyota said it was an issue isolated to trucks sold in Japan. A year later, the truck was recalled in the U.S.

Now, NHTSA said Monday that Toyota may have received similar complaints about the T100 truck from U.S. customers in 2004.

Under the TREAD act, NHTSA must be informed about defects within five business days after learning about them. Says The Nikkei: “If the latest probe determines Toyota broke this rule in 2004, the Japanese automaker is likely to be penalized with a new fine.”

It is unclear whether the third fine was mentioned yesterday during the meeting. The second was. Apart from that, LaHood said he and Akio Toyoda had a “candid, frank and serious discussion.” Which is diplomatic double-speak for yelling at each other.

When the U.S. threatened new sanctions against North Korea back in 2003, the talks were “positive, frank and candid.” That was one step below “candid, frank and serious.”

Toyota was the first manufacturer to be hit with the maximum penalty. Assuming non-discriminatorial treatment, other auto maker better start building reserves in case the serial fines set a precedent.

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  • Mikey Mikey on May 11, 2010

    Similar to most criminals/con men, Toyotas most serious mistake,was being caught.

    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on May 11, 2010

      Non-complince is a slippery-slope ... What works well at a very subtle level, becomes the temptation to expand and deepen the behaviour (often on a sub-liminal level) in order to get the same result (here non-recall w/o penalty), problem is that over-time, the practice a) expands/deepens among the few who practice it, and b) it has a corrosive effect on the rest of the organization as it moves from a smaller practice to an instutionalized one. In some cases as the mind-set takes hold, the act of non-compliance expands outside the original functional area to infect the mind-set of other parts of the organization.

  • Odomeater Odomeater on May 11, 2010

    I'm sure they profited far more than the fine while knowingly selling dangerous and inferior products to the consumer. So, pay up and stop bitchin.

  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.
  • Master Baiter "I like the Earth."The idea that modern combustion engines are incompatible with the ongoing survival of the Earth, or of humanity, is breathtakingly stupid. Climate alarmism is akin to a religion--one to which I do not subscribe.
  • Skippity Key takeaways.Toyota is run by competent businessmen.Art doesn’t like Toyota.
  • MaintenanceCosts Audi has been a full player in the German luxury club for 20 years. It started to get there with the first A4, which was a 500-foot home run, and then achieved full recognition with the spectacular D3 A8.
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