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Toyota To Pay $1.2 Billion In Fines Over Defective Cars

Posted 3/19/2014 12:48 pm by
Fixing a fatal accelerator on a Toyota, many years too late.

Fixing a fatal accelerator on a Toyota, many years too late.

Toyota cars have always had a reputation for quality, but as it turns out that hasn’t been the case since 2009 or so.  Indeed, in 2010 Toyota suspended sales in North America over defective cars, and the company has recalled nearly 12 million vehicles around the world in 2009 and 2010, but it turns out there was far more danger, damage, and death than the company let on.  The US Justice Department has fined Toyota a record $1.2 billion dollars over its defective automobile conspiracy.

The government says Toyota knowingly covered up defective cars to avoid paying for recalls, and the company further engaged in a cover-up to hide information from consumers and federal investigators, including lying in front of Congress.  Pretty serious allegations, to be sure.  Toyota said its defective floor mats caused sticky accelerators and told the government and the public the problem was resolved, but that was nothing but lies.  Toyota actually had plans to fix the defect, but had its suppliers and factories not put any information in writing as an attempt to dodge culpability for all the lives lost to Toyota’s shoddy construction.  Indeed, it is believed that Toyota knew about the problem as far back as 2007 and ignored it, choosing to avoid a recall in favor of doing a design change on the car several years after the fact.

“Rather than promptly disclosing and correcting safety issues about which they were aware, Toyota made misleading public statements to consumers and gave inaccurate facts to members of Congress,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “In other words, Toyota confronted a public safety emergency as if it were a simple public relations problem.”

Once again, the problem is bad, but lying about the problem is much, much worse.  Not that it will really hurt Toyota’s bottom line all that much.

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