The U.S. government concluded a 1.2 billion settlement with the Toyota Motor Corp., which ends a 4-year criminal investigation into the Japanese automaker’s safety issues the Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday, March 19th according to foxnews.com.
Toyota has had massive recalls since 2009 and has recalled over 1.6 million vehicles and paying fines totaling more than $66 million for delays in reporting unintended acceleration problems. Toyota has blamed drivers for these, with faults such as stuck accelerators or floor mats that trapped the gas pedal for the acceleration .The company has repeatedly denied its vehicles are flawed, according to bostonglobe.com.
Toyota said in a statement that it had made fundamental changes in its corporate structure and internal safety controls since the government started its investigation four years ago. Although the company has been losing sales, it has recovered most of its sales from the United States according to The New York Times.
The agreement comes as General Motors is also under investigation over its handling of an ignition switch failure linked to a dozen deaths. The payment Toyota agreed to marks the largest such penalty levied by the United States on an auto company, officials said and the company also concealed from the public and regulators a separate problem with the acceleration pedal itself Yahoo reported.
Meanwhile, Toyota’s lawyers are arguing over hundreds of civil lawsuits alleging up to deaths or injuries leading up to hundreds of millions of dollars to the debt Los Angeles Times reported.