Japanese automaker Toyota Corp. has been ordered to pay a $1.2 billion fine for knowingly concealing information about sudden acceleration problems in many of its vehicles. U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder issued a statement that said "Toyota intentionally concealed information" and misled the public about the danger that some Toyota and Lexus models might suddenly accelerate and cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle. Saying that the automaker had deliberately avoided taking responsibility after customers began complaining about the problems in 2009, Holder went on to say that the fine is "the largest criminal penalty imposed on a car company in the history of the United States," and that the record fine is merited by "shameful" conduct on the company’s part.
The world’s largest automaker has announced another in what has become a long series of recalls to replace parts that have caused accidents, injuries and deaths. The latest recall affects 412,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in the U.S. and addresses steering problems that can cause the steering to lock up unexpectedly. Toyota has recalled 373,000 Toyota Avalon sedans and 39,000 Lexus 470 SUVs to correct a defective part in the steering assembly.
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After halting sales and stopping production of its Lexus GX 460 model due to problems with its stability control system, Toyota has resumed sales of this model after releasing a software upgrade to dealers. Current GX 460 owners received notification to schedule appointments with the dealerships for the upgrade installation. A rare Do Not Buy rating from Consumer Reports prompted the automaker to halt sales and production of the model recently, adding to Toyota’s mounting issues with safety and reliability.
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Toyota’s recall problems continue with the latest recall targeting vehicle stability control with Sequoia SUV 2003 models. The recall will upgrade the stability control system for approximately 50,000 Sequoias. This latest recall adds to the more than 9 million Toyota vehicles recalled since November 2009 affecting the majority of their most popular models.
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Troubles continue to mount for the Toyota Motor Company with the latest news that Consumer Reports issued a rare Do Not Buy recommendation for 2010 models of the Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicle. The popular product rating publication reported that the model’s handling problems could lead to rollover accidents if the driver made sharp turns. Toyota, owner of the Lexus line of luxury vehicles, suspended sales of the GS 460 to conduct its own tests on the luxury SUV’s reported tendency to roll over when making sharp turns.
An Associated Press investigation has found that Toyota Motor Company, the world’s biggest automaker currently struggling with the largest recall in company history, has routinely engaged in “questionable, evasive and deceptive” legal tactics in lawsuits against it. The AP claims that it is common practice for the company to claim that it doesn’t have information that it has been ordered to provide and routinely ignores court orders to supply important documents. The AP reviewed litigation against the company for a variety of complaints in addition to the sticking gas pedal problems that the company is currently addressing with a recall.
Government safety regulators are thinking about levying additional fines against Toyota Motor Corporation for failing to alert them in a timely manner about sticking gas pedals. The fines would be in addition to the previously announced $16.4 million penalty announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently. The NHTSA sent Toyota a letter notifying the company of the possibility of additional fines when it learned of internal Toyota memos that proved company officials knew of two separate defects in the accelerator pedals.
After waiting until the deadline to make their decision, Toyota Motor Corporation has decided to pay the $16.4 million fine handed down by the Department of Transportation but formally denied any allegations that it had broken the law. The U.S. DOT fined the automaker and said that “by failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk.” Toyota recall accident lawyer James O. Cunningham and other attorneys have been watching developments in this case very closely.
Resource link: Toyota Pays Fine but Admits no Wrongdoing
With Toyota Motor Company’s quality control, safety and legal problems continuing to worsen, the world’s largest automaker suffered a new setback recently with the announcement that the federal government has hit the company with a huge fine. The Transportation Department recently issued the record $16.4 million fine to the company for hiding a “dangerous defect” and failing to act in a timely manner to alert regulators to safety problems in several of its models. Toyota is reportedly weighing its options and must decide whether to accept the fine, which would amount to admitting that they did something wrong or contesting the fine and taking on even more negative publicity.
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As concern and scrutiny continue to build over the Toyota safety issues that have sparked a massive recall, the U.S. Department of Transportation is bringing in the big guns, asking for help from America’s “astronaut engineers” at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Read the rest »
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