Toyota has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to the U.S. Attorney's Office for issues associated with the 2009-2010 recalls of its cars for the potential of unintended acceleration due to "sticky" accelerator pedals and floor mat entrapment problems.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York initiated an investigation in February 2010 of the automaker's communications and decision-making process while addressing the car recall issue. On Wednesday, it announced that it had reached an agreement with Toyota where the automaker admitted it made deceptive and misleading statements about the two car safety issues affecting its cars. Toyota also agreed to pay the penalty and use an independent monitor to review and assess its safety-related policies, practices and procedures. The U.S. Attorney said it will defer prosecution for three years and will then dismiss the charge if Toyota abides by the agreement.
Toyota's penalty is the largest of its kind ever imposed on an automaker.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.