For failing to announce the recalls of defective vehicles in a timely manner, Toyota Motor Corp. is likely to be issued a multimillion-dollar federal fine, according to a U.S. Transportation Department official. The source said that the agency being headed by Secretary Ray LaHood is thinking about slapping Toyota with a civil penalty.
Carmakers that fail to recall defective vehicles in a timely manner are subject to fines of up to $16.4 million. Toyota had two recent calls (in October and in January).
In an e-mail to Automotive News, Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight said that it has not received any official communication from NHTSA; hence, she can't comment.
In a statement, LaHood said that an investigation into Toyota is ongoing in order to "review possible defects and monitor the implementation of the recalls." Officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration went to Japan in December "to remind Toyota management about its legal obligations."
In January, a meeting at Transportation Department headquarters was held in Washington to insist that they address the accelerator-pedal issue.
LaHood said that the agency made "an enormous effort" to push Toyota to take responsible action now.