Toyota has come under intense scrutiny for its recall practices after recalling millions of vehicles, particularly after its unintended acceleration recalls for which it paid a $16.4 million penalty. Now, Toyota has received an additional $32.4 million in fines for recalls involving steering rods in 2005 and floormats from 2007-2010.
After Toyota received the first steep penalty, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that Toyota could receive a second penalty for other infractions related to the timeliness of recall notifications. It turns out however, that Toyota actually received two more penalties for such a matter. The first penalty of $16.375 million was for Toyota’s floormat recall — where the accelerator pedals could become trapped by the floormat — involving nearly 10.4 million vehicles in total.
The second new penalty was for withholding pertinent information from the NHTSA for a steering rod recall. Toyota initially deemed a recall was unnecessary, saying in 2004 that the steering rod defects only affected vehicles in Japan. In 2005 however, Toyota ended up issuing a recall for almost 1 million vehicles based on the information it originally withheld from the NHTSA. This netted Toyota a fine of $16.05 million, bringing the total for this round of fines to roughly $32.4 million and the total for all recalls to $48.8 million.
“Safety is our top priority and we take our responsibility to protect consumers seriously,” said LaHood in a prepared statement. “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.”
Despite agreeing to pay the fines, Toyota says it admits to no violations of the U.S.’ recall policy as defined in the U.S. Safety Act.
“Toyota is pleased to have resolved these legacy issues related to the timeliness of prior recalls dating back to 2005,” said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America, in a prepared statement. “These agreements are an opportunity to turn the page to an even more constructive relationship with NHTSA and focus even more on listening to our customers and meeting their high expectations for safe and reliable vehicles.”
Source: Toyota, NHTSA