Toyota agrees record $32.4m US fine over recalls

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Toyota agrees record $32.4m US fine over recalls

23rd December 2010

Toyota has been fined a record $32.4m (£20.9m) by the US government for its failure to act quickly enough in recalling millions of vehicles with faulty brakes and steering.

"This latest fine relates to two separate investigations," said Sam Harmel, a defective product specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP. "The first involved the recall of nearly five million vehicles with faulty accelerator pedals that became stuck when depressed, and the second involving steering rods that cracked and even broke in some models."

The fines are the maximum allowed by US law. This is the second large fine the world's largest carmaker will pay to American authorities, after agreeing a $16.4m penalty in April, bringing the total to $48.8m.

Worldwide, Toyota has recalled more than 11 million vehicles since November 2009, including 14 recalls this year involving popular models such as the Prius hybrid, and the Camry and Corolla saloons.

"These fines follow months of investigations," said Sam, a partner with the firm. "It was concluded that Toyota had failed to report defects to safety regulators, who discovered the company had initially recalled models in Japan over faulty rods but had waited a year before conceding US models were also affected."

Toyota has agreed to the fines without admitting any violations of US law. The company is facing a barrage of class-action law suits over the recalls.

"Toyota has been harshly criticised over its handling of previous recalls and for failing to act sooner," said Sam. "These agreements are an opportunity for Toyota to turn over a new leaf and focus even more on acknowledging consumer concerns and rebuilding the reputation they previously held for safe and reliable vehicles."

How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of defective products.

If you or a family member has suffered an injury that was not your fault, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - BBC