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Record: Toyota fined 16.4 M

Toyota agreed to pay the record fine of almost $16.4 M given by U.S. government for delaying the recall of 2.3 million vehicles with a defect that could trigger sudden acceleration, but denied it broke any laws.

“By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

“I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly.”

In a statement, Toyota said it “did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem,” and that “we could have done a better job of sharing relevant information.”

“We regret that NHTSA tentatively concluded that they should seek a civil penalty,” the automaker said in its statement. “Toyota denies NHTSA’s allegation that it violated the Safety Act or its implementing regulations. We believe we made a good faith effort to investigate this condition and develop an appropriate counter-measure.”

The automaker said it paid the fine “in order to avoid a protracted dispute and possible litigation, as well as to allow us to move forward.”

US authorities responsible with traffic safety started after the automaker recalled 8.5 million cars for an acceleration problem.

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