Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a settlement that will end a criminal investigation into unintended acceleration of its vehicles in the United States, sources told Bloomberg as well as CNN and The Wall Street Journal. The $1.2-billion settlement may be disclosed as early as Wednesday, two sources told Bloomberg, CNN and The Wall Street Journal also reported that the settlement was reached.
The Journal started reporting on the discussions in a Feb. 7 story. Toyota recalled over 10 million vehicles on issue related to unintended acceleration in 2009 and 2010. The first recall was in September 2009, covering 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles suspected of having a glitch that that might cause floor mats to jam accelerator pedals.
Toyota then recalled vehicles over defects involving the pedals themselves. The recalls lead to the criminal probe by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office and the New York office of Federal Bureau of Investigation. They also led to lawsuits alleging that the defects harmed the value of Toyota vehicles or caused accidents leading to death and injury.
Toyota settled suits filed by vehicle owners claiming economic losses for about $1.6 billion. “Toyota has cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s office in this matter for more than four years,” Toyota spokesman Steve Curtis said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. “During that time, we have made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements.” [source: Reuters]