Japanese car maker Toyota Motors has agreed to pay two fines totaling $32.4 million (£20.8 million) to the Transportation department. The company has already paid $16 million in fines over its handling of safety shortcomings.
The company has admitted that it had suppressed facts about safety problems it had discovered, which requires to be reported as per US laws. The two separate investigations by Federal agents resulted in two civil penalties, which has cost that company a total of $48.8 million.
The Japanese carmaker expressed satisfaction over the settlement and said it is “pleased to have resolved these legacy issues”, but refused to accept any wrongdoings.
Toyota has issued 14 recalls in 2010 alone, the latest being in the month October. Worldwide it has recalled more than 10 million cars.
“These agreements are an opportunity to turn the page to an even more constructive relationship with the National Highway Safety Administration (of the US) and focus even more on listening to our customers and meeting their high expectations for safe and reliable vehicles”, said the Chief Quality officer of North America, Steve St Angelo.
The Department of Transport (DOT) said Toyota had agreed to pay the maximum penalty on failing to report safety defects to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“Safety is our top priority and we take our responsibility to protect consumers seriously. I am pleased that Toyota agreed to pay the maximum possible penalty and I expect Toyota to work cooperatively in the future to ensure consumers’ safety”, said Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation Secretary.
Toyota had recalled 4 million cars in September last year over fears that the accelerator pedal may get stuck on the floor mat. The company recalled another 2.3 million cars in January this year over faulty accelerator pedals.
In August the third wave of recall took place to fix a faulty engine control system in the Corolla and Matrix models, totaling 1.1 million cars. Faulty brake and fuel pump system resulted in the third recall of over 1.5 million cars in October this year.
“All 30,000 of our U.S. team members, and the tens of thousands of Americans at dealers and suppliers across the country, have worked very hard over the past year to put these issues behind us and set a new standard of responsiveness to our customers”, concluded Mr. Angelo.