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Toyota to pay $1.2 bil to settle investigation over defect cover-up in U.S.

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By ERIC TUCKER and TOM KRISHER

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Its unfortunate, because this should have never been allowed to happen. 37 people lost their lives over this, truly a horrible day. I always hate seeing Japanese companies causing hardship, and getting bad press like this.

There is nothing wrong with the US government forcing Toyota to pay up, and international news agencies covering this story. Toyota fudged up, and Toyota has to pay.

That said, I'm not expecting to hear about GM's payout to the government anytime soon.

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“In other words, Toyota confronted a public safety emergency as it if were a simple public relations problem,” Holder said at a news conference.

Guess Toyota learned the hard way that Japanese business ethics won't cut it in most Western countries and that when you get caught, you don't get off with a slap on the wrist and a couple of bows.

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the fine is not nearly big enough, but it should set Toyota back quite a bit, considering how much they could've done with 1.2 billion. They deserve be set back to behind the competition though, considering what they had done.

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@sfjp330,

When you have your main competitor, GM that is majority owned by U.S. goverment, how can you have a fair investigation? The investigation should've been handled by independent party.

Time to update your information. The U.S. Treasury only had a 33% stake in GM back in 2012 and as of last December the Treasury has a 0% stake in GM when they sold off their remaining shares at an estimated loss to U.S. taxpayers of $13.5 billion. The government hasn't been a "majority owner" since almost the very beginning of the bail-out and the more cynical would look at that loss and the current investigation and say that the government is going to recoup some of the taxpayer's losses, not say that GM is going to have it easy.

It's ridiculous for U.S. goverment to fine Toyota for majority of bogus drivers error.

Please read the excerpt I gave above from the Washington Post. Toyota has ADMITTED they tried to hide the sticking accelerator from the U.S. government - going so far as to pull written evidence of the problem for fear that regulators might find it in the future. Toyota is being fined for: (1.) Having a problem identified (the accelerator pedal linkage sticking) and not reporting the safety hazard to regulators as required by law, and (2.) even going so far as switching to oral direction on the repairs rather than written direction so there would be no "paper-trail" incriminating Toyota management should an investigation start.

Note that nowhere in my discussion does the phrase "electronics" or "floor mats" or "driver error" appear. That's because this fine has nothing to do with the previous investigation looking into whether the electronic module in Toyota cars was performing an un-commanded acceleration. (Though the evidence of this misdeed very likely surfaced during that investigation.)

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Thomas Anderson Mar. 22, 2014 - 06:29AM JST You're talking about something that happened 40 years ago?

Over 2,000 people were killed in fire crashes involving these GM trucks from 1973 through 2009. This is more than twenty times as many fatalities as Ford Pinto. Despite a voluntary recall request from the NHTSA in 1993, GM stubbornly refused to initiate a recall.

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Unjust or not, it isn't a lot of money considering their revenues are over $200 billion per year. They probably just wanted to pay up and move on.

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unbelievable,400 wrongful-death and personal-injury lawsuits and the fine means little as long as no executives(including the one who went to US senate to explain) face jail time. The facts of the case describe a level of coordinated lying and greed that warrants stiffer punishment.

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Then tell me about what happened four years ago when U.S. goverment fined Toyota $16 million when they were majority owner of GM? How can you have a fair investigation when you owned GM?

What happened? What happened is Toyota did what it apparently excels at doing... not reporting safety issues and conducting recalls when safety problems are discovered. The investigations are conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which doesn't own GM and never has. You can rail on all night about how the government owned GM four years ago, but the U.S. Government didn't force Toyota to violate established laws regarding the prompt reporting of safety defects and the prompt issuance of recalls to address those safety defects. Toyota decided to violate those laws all on its own. Claiming the U.S. Government was an owner of GM doesn't absolve Toyota from being punished for their actions.

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Back on topic please.

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This is the TIP of the iceberg!

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sfjp330: Over 2,000 people were killed in fire crashes involving these GM trucks from 1973 through 2009

Ewwww....you're that creepy guy who tries to distract any attention from Toyota by talking about GM. Why do you tie your personal feelings of self worth with an automobile company? There are more worthwhile things in life.

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@SuperLib

The settlement with Toyotal is a victory for the U.S. government and could serve as a model for a case against General Motors, which is currently under investigation by Congress, safety regulators and federal prosecutors for taking more than a decade to issue a recall for an ignition-switch problem it has linked to over 30 accidents and 12 deaths.

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Ok, let's see. In the Oklahoma trial the jury came to the - not unreasonable - conclusion that the car's software could be the culprit. On the other hand, Toyota has made no further recalls regarding the unintended acceleration issue and thus the old problems should still persist. Yet we haven't heard of any new unintended acceleration case since then. The hype is gone, the accidents are gone... But what will happen to Toyota when any other driver who has an accident will come up with claims of unintended acceleration? It doesn't matter whether right- or wrongfully, it will put Toyota in a terrible situation.

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Jarkeyboy. There's no evidence of fault with Electronic Throttle Control System (ETCS) and other mechanical parts in Toyota and Lexus cars.

The driver has responsible for fitting floor mat in his or her car and they must correct floor position if the floor mat was trapped under accelerator pedal.

I have tried and copy what happened with Accelerator and Floor Mat in US but the car will stop once my feet pressed on brake pedal and slow down I set transmission in "N" position. The car will slow down and stop when I pull hand brake and press on brake pedal. I couldn’t copy that incident.

I don't want rude and insult to victims' family but the accident was most possibly suicide. Authority couldn’t find mechanical faulty in

NASA Scientists couldn't find fault in Electronic Throttle Control System (ETCS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) couldn't find any Mechanical fault in car. The car can stop easily without any problem even if floor goes under accelerator pedal or accelerator was sticking and not feedback by pulling handbrake and pressing down Brake pedal.

I only found faulty in brain of North America Division Senior official who brat about how many millions dollars were saved by not recalling all cars in email to Toyota Company in Japan.

Recalling for Floor Mat was just Toyota strategy for pleasing Toyota drivers in US. Most of American drivers are blaming drivers for cause of unintended acceleration.

We do not heard about unintended acceleration problem now after recall for floor mat. Toyota factory in other countries had used same parts and same Electronic Throttle Control System (ETCS) in same car models as US problematic car models but there were no complaint about ETCS and sticky Accelerator problems in other countries. Some cars were imported from US and no drivers had complaint about unintended acceleration in their car. Why happened only in US?

In Melbourne, one idiot driver called to Emergency and told his Ford Escape's Cruise Control was stuck and could reduce or stop the car on HWY. He just moved from Queensland to Melbourne and got problem on HWY but later car was stopped after about 1 hour. Police has taken away his car and thoroughly test but they have found nothing Mechanical fault and Cruise Control. Peoples have comment about his stunt as idiot and over speeding caught on Speed Camera and blame Cruise Control problem.

I hope Toyota will train and teach its employee for how to deal with consumers in US. It's multi-billion Dollars lesson for TOYOTA and also other car Companies as well.

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I find it interesting that the AP story as reprinted here on JT leaves out some damning details. From the Washington Post article on the same story:

But Toyota knew that models it had not recalled had similar floor-mat problems, the agreement said. Also, the company hid from federal regulators a second cause of unintended acceleration in its vehicles: a sticky gas pedal.

The problem was caused by plastic material inside the pedal that could cause the accelerator to become stuck in a partially depressed position. The pedals were installed in several models, including the Camry, the Matrix, the Corolla and the Avalon.

The problem had surfaced in Toyota vehicles in Europe in 2008, causing instances of uncontrolled acceleration. In early 2009, the company gave European Toyota distributors information about the sticky pedals along with instructions to replace them if customers complained.

Meanwhile, rather than issuing a recall, the company quietly directed its pedal supplier to change parts in Europe and made plans to roll out the same change in the United States.

By then, the problem had already cropped up in cars sold in the United States, according to the documents. At nearly the same time as the highly publicized San Diego accident, Toyota staffers sent a memo to the company’s headquarters in Japan warning of an unintended-acceleration problem apart from the one caused by the floor mats.

For several months, Toyota received more evidence of the pedal problem and quietly made plans to address it without informing federal safety officials as required by law. Concerned that federal officials would learn about these plans, the company canceled the change in pedal design and communicated that change orally rather than in writing, so there would be no paper trail.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/toyota-reaches-12-billion-settlement-to-end-criminal-probe/2014/03/19/5738a3c4-af69-11e3-9627-c65021d6d572_story.html?tid=hpModule_79c38dfc-8691-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394&hpid=z15

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Idiots! I wonder who is responsible for all of this?

And please, do not "defend" Toyota. You get nothing out of it other than doing it out of some nationalistic "duty", when people are actually getting killed over this. Think.

Would other people go as far as this to "defend" any other automobile company? Most Japanese get defensive on a nationalistic level, as if it tarnishes their own reputation when a Japanese company gets tarnished like this. Stop, just stop.

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FadamorMar. 21, 2014 - 09:51PM JST Time to update your information. The U.S. Treasury only had a 33% stake in GM back in 2012 and as of last December the Treasury has a 0% stake in GM when they sold off their remaining shares at an estimated loss to U.S. taxpayers of $13.5 billion. The government hasn't been a "majority owner" since almost the very beginning of the bail-out and the more cynical would look at that loss and the current investigation and say that the government is going to recoup some of the taxpayer's losses, not say that GM is going to have it easy.

Then tell me about what happened four years ago when U.S. goverment fined Toyota $16 million when they were majority owner of GM? How can you have a fair investigation when you owned GM?

Thomas Anderson Mar. 21, 2014 - 10:21PM JST And please, do not "defend" Toyota. You get nothing out of it other than doing it out of some nationalistic "duty", when people are actually getting killed over this. Think.

If safety is important to U.S. goverment, then tell me about the side saddle fuel tank design installed in over 10 million GM trucks. Over 2,000 Americans were killed in fire crashes involving these trucks from 1973, and the goverment did do nothing for over two decades.

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Fadamor Mar. 22, 2014 - 05:37AM JST The investigations are conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which doesn't own GM and never has.

If that is the case, why only Transportation secretary Ray LaHood testified? The actual head of the NHTSA, David Strickland, did not face a Congressional panel of what he knows and looking into the past activity by NHTSA into the agency's handling of safety issues with Toyota cars including unintended acceleration, they should've also called Nicole Mason who was the head of NHTSA around 2007. They should investigate Mason's knowledge in 2007. Congressional panel never forced this question on why Strickland and Mason is not available to LaHood. LaHood's reason for Strickland not facing congressional panel is that he is only been on the job for short time. In addition to LaHood's more general grandstanding, there are three legs to the bureaucrat’s stool: blaming predecessors, not being able to comment on ongoing investigations, and blaming a lack of funding. As the questioning pounded away, LaHood retreated further and further into these self-protection measures. Three witnesses worth of fearmongering, visions of damning evidence of Toyota malfeasance or NHTSA complicity in a coverup were all but buried by the time the questions ended. And in the grand tradition of theatrical farce, the hunter ended up hunting himself.

Even as Toyota finds itself the target of an increasingly hyped-up inquisition about “public safety.” So why is the U.S. Congress and mainstream media all of a sudden so gung-ho to accuse Toyota of compromising public safety? Because Toyota is an easy, convenient target that can distract people from the far worse dangers that no one dares speak of. As long as Americans can be distracted into focusing their fear and anger on Toyota. And remember: Toyota is a foreign company while the giants of Big Three are American companies. Congress is quick to defend U.S. companies like GM and Ford, even if those companies pose a very real danger to public safety.

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The Toyota case could foreshadow whats in store for General Motors. The same U.S. attorneys office is investigating the Detroit auto giant for its slow response to a faulty ignition switch problem in older compact cars that has been linked to at least 31 crashes and 12 deaths. NHTSA also is investigating whether GM withheld information about the problem and could fine the automaker $35 million.

Lest see how US will fine GM that they protected from bankruptcy . And I am surprised how US government didn't discovered problem while they had control of GM these several years ? Or they knew, but were silent, just so that they can bring GM back in business.

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Bob SneiderMar. 21, 2014 - 06:10AM JST the fine is not nearly big enough, but it should set Toyota back quite a bit, considering how much they could've done with 1.2 billion. They deserve be set back to behind the competition though, considering what they had done.

When you have your main competitor, GM that is majority owned by U.S. goverment, how can you have a fair investigation? The investigation should've been handled by independent party. It's ridiculous for U.S. goverment to fine Toyota for majority of bogus drivers error.

Why should Toyota be liable for something without merit? Final report by NHTSA states: No evidence of Toyota electronics problems. The review by federal investigators has turned up no evidence of electronic failures in Toyota vehicles involved in suspected runaway acceleration cases. This was nothing more than the drivers error and people that received the money from these insurance companies should return the money or face a legal proceedings. Toyota has nothing to do with this bogus accusations.

Regarding San Diego accident, floor mat defect? Really? The vehicle, on loan from Bob Baker Toyota/Lexus, actually had the wrong floor mat installed. It was an all-weather floor mat from a Lexus SUV, which given the angle of the ES350's floor and its distance to the bottom of the accelerator pedal caused the jamming. Saylor and his family were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a complete and utter tragedy. Was it Toyota's fault? Was it the dealership's fault? It's tough to say, but we can be certain it wasn't Mark Saylor's fault. The vehicle had the wrong floor mats in it. Nobody double-checked it. Nobody from the dealership considered what might occur. But, how could they see the future. In a world of a thousand possibilities, it would be difficult for them to expect acceleration problems with any of their vehicles, let alone the Lexus they loaned Mark Saylor.

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Toyota to pay $1.2 bil to settle investigation over defect cover-up in U.S.

Toyota's payout will be a bench mark used for auto industry's negligence and its product liability from now on. Watch out!

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I hope they make GM, etc pay similar.

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Toyota can afford Glad automakers which neglecedt safety are punished. Will US be able to collect from GM?

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sfjp330

If safety is important to U.S. goverment, then tell me about the side saddle fuel tank design installed in over 10 million GM trucks. Over 2,000 Americans were killed in fire crashes involving these trucks from 1973, and the goverment did do nothing for over two decades.

You're talking about something that happened 40 years ago?

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