As reported earlier today, Toyota has now officially announced it will comply with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s civil fine of $16.4 million for not issuing a recall within an acceptable timeframe. The recall in question focused on 2.3 million vehicles for sticking accelerator pedals.
In a statement the Japanese automaker accepted the fine, but not the terms behind it, stating that it does not believe it violated the Safety Act. “We believe we made a good faith effort to investigate this condition and develop an appropriate counter-measure. We have acknowledged that we could have done a better job of sharing relevant information within our global operations and outside the company, but we did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem.”
Toyota says it agreed to the fine to avoid further litigation but also to move beyond the issue and focus on improving quality. “This will allow us to focus on delivering safe, reliable, high quality vehicles for our customers and responding to consumer feedback with honesty and integrity. These have been core Toyota values for 70 years, and we pledge to make an even greater effort to adhere to this philosophy now and in the future. We also welcome a new, more transparent chapter in our relationship with NHTSA, consistent with our commitments to Congress and the American people.”
While the $16.4 million fine isn’t much for an automaker, the negative public perception generated by it can be much more significant. Toyota now seems to be quick to issue recalls and vehicles needing to be recalled don’t appear to be lacking with an announcement late last week of a recall for the Sienna minivan and just today for the Lexus GX460.
Official release after the jump:
Toyota Motor Corporation Agrees to Settle NHTSA Civil Penalty
- We have strengthened our information-gathering capabilities to respond more quickly to customer concerns and investigate potential quality issues more aggressively.
- We’ve appointed a new Chief Quality Officer for North America, enlisted the help of respected independent experts to ensure our quality assurance processes are robust and given the region a bigger role in decision-making on safety issues for North America.
- Our dealers continue to make extraordinary efforts to repair recalled vehicles as quickly and conveniently as possible for our customers.