Toyota Motor Corp.
said today it will pay a record-setting $17.35 million U.S. fine for delaying the recall of 154,000 Lexus SUVs over pedal entrapment issues, and promises that it will make significant changes in how it responds to safety issues.
In a significant blow to the Japanese automaker, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was imposing the largest fine in U.S. history for a single recall campaign over the June call-back of 154,000 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h vehicles.
The fine, and stiff government conditions that Toyota agree to monthly meetings and significant internal reforms, are dramatic setbacks for the automaker that had vowed to work more closely with U.S. safety officials.
It's the fourth time since 2010 that Toyota has paid the maximum allowable fine for delaying recalls. In 2010, Toyota paid $48.8 million in civil penalties for failing to recall millions of vehicles, in three separate campaigns, in a timely manner.