Toyota has agreed to pay a $1.2-billion fine after being accused of failing to take action after it learned that hundreds of thousands of its vehicles could suddenly accelerate.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the fine was the largest ever against an auto company.
“In the agreement with the Department of Justice, the Japanese automaker admitted that it misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about two safety issues affecting its vehicles, each of which caused a type of unintended acceleration. The case focused on reports of floor mats jamming gas pedals and sticking gas pedals,” the LA Times reported.
“Toyota put sales over safety and profit over principle,” said George Venizelos, assistant director of the FBI. “The disregard Toyota had for the safety of the public was outrageous. Not only did Toyota fail to recall cars with problem parts, they continued to manufacture new cars with the same parts they knew were deadly.”
“Rather than promptly disclosing and correcting safety issues about which they were aware, Toyota made misleading public statements to consumers and gave inaccurate facts to members of Congress,” Holder said.
“Entering this agreement, while difficult, is a major step toward putting this unfortunate chapter behind us,” said Christopher P. Reynolds, chief legal officer, Toyota Motor North America. “In the more than four years since these recalls, we have gone back to basics at Toyota to put our customers first.”
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