Toyota is seemingly ready to pay $16.4M over the delayed reaction of admitting to the defective gas pedals, although they feel they haven’t done anything wrong. Well, hang on, let’s rephrase. Toyota is going to pay the $16.4M, but in an effort to stop the lawyers of the many lawsuits pending against Toyota from using this decision as ammunition for their own war against Toyota, the brand has decided it will not admit any wrongdoing. Toyota will not comment on anything until the agreement has been signed, but a Japanese newspaper reports that Toyota has decided to pay the fine "in an effort to avoid a resurgence of criticism by the U.S. public". Unfortunately for Toyota, we don’t know if that little, “I didn’t do it” trick is going to cut it.
"By paying the full civil penalty, Toyota is accepting responsibility for hiding this safety defect from NHTSA in violation of the law," said a senior Transportation Department official Sunday.
Toyota has turned over 120,000 pages of records to the NHTSA during the Transportation Department’s investigation and upon reviewing these records the NHTSA has determined that Toyota knew of the faulty gas pedals since, at least, September 29, 2009. Considering Toyota did not recall the vehicles until the end of January 2010, the NHTSA is set on their decision to penalize Toyota to the maximum degree. Toyota will have 30 days to pay $16.4M off and the NHTSA will continue its investigation on the other Toyota recalls to determine whether additional fines will have to be paid. Not a good year for Toyota. Not a good year at all.