Toyota will pay a $US1.2 billion financial penalty and fully admit wrongdoing after a widespread vehicle recall in 2009-2010 led to a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.
The investigation found Toyota intentionally concealed information about the incidents, and purposefully misled the public about the underlying safety issues.
The 2009-2010 recall was triggered by unintended acceleration issues.
The $US1.2 billion charge will be paid in after-tax charges after earnings, and is is the largest criminal penalty ever imposed on an American automaker.
It’s appropriate, Attorney General Eric Holder said in an announcement this morning, because “Toyota’s conduct was shameful. It showed a blatant disregard for systems and laws designed to look after the safety of consumers.”
In a statement, Toyota North America’s chief legal officer Christopher P. Reynolds said “At the time of these recalls, we took full responsibility for any concerns our actions may have caused customers, and we rededicated ourselves to earning their trust. In the more than four years since these recalls, we have gone back to basics at Toyota to put our customers first.”
As part of the settlement, announced by this morning, Toyota will also “submit to rigorous review by an independent monitor that will examine and assess” how the automaker reports safety issues to the public and regulators.
In its last fiscal quarter, Toyota reported a profit of $US5.2 billion, according to the AP.
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