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$16.4 million. That's the maximum amount the Department of Transportation (DOT) can fine an automaker for failing to recall a defective vehicle in a timely manner. And according to a recent report, the Feds could be pursuing a multimillion-dollar fine – the sum, yet to be disclosed – due to the Toyota recall.

The largest civil penalty ever imposed was handed down to General Motors when a windshield wiper on 581,344 SUVs wasn't dealt with in accordance to the DOT's regulations. Although no automaker has ever incurred the maximum penalty, judging by Secretary Ray LaHood's recent comments about Toyota's handling of the matter ("While Toyota is taking responsible action now, it unfortunately took an enormous effort to get to this point."), it's not so much a matter of when as it is how much.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req. | Image Source: Alex Wong/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is really going to hit Toyota where it hurts the most -- their wallet.

      Here's what I'm trying to figure out: would the NHTSA only fine Toyota 16.4 million dollars for failure to correctly recall their faulty products? The article here states that they can charge 16.4 million per vehicle, which I assume means a specific model built by a manufacturer. So it's looking like Toyota will be charged something along the lines of 131.2 million dollars (16.4 million times 8 different models). And if a few Toyota owners win a lawsuit in Cincinatti, they'll be out who knows how much more money because owners will not have to pay their car payments.

      Toyota is bleeding money. If Roger Smith ran the company they still wouldn't lose as much money.

      Oh, and a man in Louisville, KY had a serious wreck a few days ago when his 2010 Camry accelerated out of control and went off of an embankment into a creek.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This faulty toyota case will not close.

      1. This is not a floor mats problem
      2. This is not a CTS’s part problem (Japanese made ‘lexus’ and ‘prius’ have a unintended acceleration problem. CTS never supply their parts to Lexus models. all prius and lexus models built in Japan)
      3. It is hardly find hidden electronic glitch
      4. Toyota will not admit their own technical & structural fault

      Just avoid toyota/lexus as possible as can… this is only solution.
      • 5 Years Ago
      16 million is a joke. Toyota is probably losing billions in depreciating stock as a result of all this. They done did f*cked the pooch pretty hard here, I'd say.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous. I don't trust NHTSA either. It is our lives at stakes. It doesn't freaking matter that I don't Own Toyota Vehicle. You know how many people drive Toyota cars in my neighborhood? Almost 4 out of 10 cars are Toyota cars. This problem needs to solved now! How do I know for sure that some random Camry would not crash into my cars? Government better get your acts on this, or I will think about my voting for next election.
      Muscle Dude
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota is doing damage control, primarily because the audio on this car crash is so horrifying, so vivid, they figure they will lose that case no matter what. Had this audio not surfaced, it is doubtful the recall would have materialized.

      Listen: http://www.cardealerreviews.org/?p=247148
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fine them the max, but then hit them where it really hurts. Make Toyoda and his minions drive Toyota's.
      • 5 Years Ago
      1. The car accelerated all by itself
      2. the brakes would not work while accelerating
      3. Uncontrolled speeds can reaches between 65mph and 110mph
      4. Lexus responds to all with “Improper installation of floor mats”

      Model: ES350


      It is hard to say, floor mats can pushing pedal at 110mph speed. (Is floor mats really heavy?)

      Look at this video.

      And yet Toyotas are being recalled. Why isn't the Lexus brand being recalled.

      It makes no sense.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ouch, how hard the big ones fall. They got too big too fast and lost their tight grip on quality control.
      • 5 Years Ago
      LaHood needs to set up the Swiss bank account first...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I feel like a lot of the hoopla around this issue is nationalism (We finally got those pesky Japanese automakers!) as opposed to peoples safety. But I could be totally wrong. FYI I own a 2006 Avalon so I am definitely pissed at Toyota but it does make me wonder...
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are mistaken because the same thing happen with Ford with their tire supplier Firestone...It has nothing to do with "nationalism (We finally got those pesky Japanese automakers!)" The problem now is a lot of people are trying to show face because it is looking more and more each day that from NHTSA side there was a lack of oversight in the matter and with Toyota for letting the problem run for so long after they knew about the problems couple of years b4...On the government side it's a witch hunt to single out who didn't do their job properly and on Toyota's side they avoided the problem as long as they could in till deaths started to pill up...

        This is pretty much Ford/Firestone problem meets Hurricane Katrina Fema problem all in one...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I dunno. Most toyota owners I talk to are like you, owners grumpy /pissed at how this has been handled so far. Multiply that by millions and I wonder how much is nationalism and how much is just really really grumpy customers, previously on a 35 year high, coming down to reality and complaining to those who represent them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, the legal protocol has to follow it's course.
        However, I definately believe we're hearing a lot more about this than is necessary, but lambasting a giant corporation is a great money-maker for news outlets.

        The media is going to milk this as hard as they can for as long as they can.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I disagree. This is a serious safety issue and there's massive evidence that Toyota sat on it for years. It's not like this just came up. When they have to be forced to do something by the government, under threat, it shows a pretty big disregard for their customers' safety.

        As someone who's worked for car manufacturers, I'm shocked by their lack of action.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I should add that it doesn't in any way exonerate Toyota of their faults, but the issue imo isn't Toyota per say, but how all car companies handle fixes. They wait, deny and deny until enough people die or there's enough outcry.

        My 06 Civic for example had a bad 3rd gear syncro from literally the day I drove off the lot (I thought I just misshifted, but I realized more and more that it was a mechanical issue). Honda has had weak 3rd gear syncros since the RSX-S, then to the Civic Si, and also even the EDM/JDM FN2/FD2. Honda basically laughed at me and insisted I didn't know how to shift until a TSB finally came out 2 years later. Even then, it took a LOT of fighting with the dealership to fix the issue.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Look, I hate Toyota as much as anybody. (And our tribe IS increasing.) But, I'm a Ford fan and I thought the government and the media were extremely unfair to Ford over the Firestone debacle. But I also think Toyota has done a reasonable job dealing with this, and the gov't. should back off somewhat.

      I heard an opinion expressed today on Neil Cavuto's Fox News show that perhaps the administration is pushing this hard to hurt Toyota and therefore help their precious UAW constituents at Government Motors, etc. (Note the opinion stated was not Cavuto's , but a guest's)

      Cars are extremely complex machines. Problems will happen whoever the manufacturer is. I don't think we should try to ruin a good company, be it Ford or Toyota because they had a recall. Fix it and go on. You're never going to get perfection!
        • 5 Years Ago
        At least, ford admitted it.
        (actually, it caused by firestone tire, not ford)

        But, toyota is not same case as ford.
        toyota want pretend to 'pursuit of perfection'.
        so they can't says their own technical & structural shortcoming
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes, Toyota handled this terribly. I don't think there's any denying that. However, piling on the stress and lawsuits isnt gonna make anything better. (rightfully) Annoyed Toyota owners will not benefit anything from this lawsuit. If they indeed win, car payments willl be paid, fines will be paid, then Toyota will probably fold and go bankrupt, at which point your gas pedals will still be stuck. It's the equivalent of pushing someone down in quicksand, when what you should really be doing is letting them e for now so they can give you what you wanted in the first place.
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