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Toyoda Ducks Question of NHTSA Fines

Head of Toyota ignores effects of more than $16 million in fines.

by on Apr.07, 2010

Toyota executives remain reticent about recall and incentive costs.

In his remarks at an investor conference this morning, Akio Toyoda ignored the potential financial impact of what are the largest civil fines in U.S. history on the Japanese company he heads.

On Monday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking the maximum civil penalty of $16.4 million against Toyota Motor Corporation for failing to notify the auto safety agency of what turns out to be a potentially fatal “sticky pedal” defect for at least four months. (See Toyota Broke Law! NHTSA Seeks Maximum Fines)

The Japanese company did this “despite knowing of the potential risk to consumers.” Approximately 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. were recalled in late January for the sticky pedal defect.

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“As we believe you may know, Toyota’s basic stance is to emphasize customer safety above all else and to practice rigorous quality control for this purpose.

“If, however, there are any issues we make a thorough investigation of the causes, implement countermeasures, make repairs and improvements. This is a firm and unwavering conviction that we have held since our inception,” said Toyoda.