Toyota made all kinds of news during its recall woes, with one headline item being the record-breaking $32.4 million civil penalty it paid to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The charge was levied by NHTSA because it considered Toyota tardy in announcing its recalls, and was almost twice the additionally record-setting $16.4 million fine that Toyota paid to address the recall itself. According to a report in Reuters, though, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland believes that such fines aren't strong enough deterrents for automakers.

Currently the maximum fine the NHTSA can levy per infraction is $17 million. Due to last year's climate catastrophes, Toyota's profit for its 2011-2012 fiscal year is expected to drop 42 percent from the year before, but this month the company issued a projection of ¥200 billion ($2.5 billion U.S.) for operating profit. Having to pay government fines is never ideal, but Toyota's total fine of $48.4 million, when compared to $2.5 billion, probably made the public stoning far more painful than writing that check.

Carmakers are said to be doing more, and doing it more quickly, when it comes to investigating and announcing recalls. Still, Strickland wants the maximum civil penalty raised by almost a factor of 15, to $250 million per infraction. The language to do so has been included in a transportation bill approved by the Senate, but a House version omits that provision. Republicans – and automakers – have no interest in seeing it added, but unless he's just rattling the cage to keep the heat up, this probably won't be Strickland's last effort to get a bigger bat.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      Cain Gray
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fat Lady: Sir, what goes around, comes around! Al Bundy: Well ma'am considering your orbit, looks like I have 10 more years.
        Car Guy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Cain Gray
        The best was when they were at the beach: Fat Lady: can you move I'm tying to get an all over tan. Al bundy: ma'am isn't that asking an awful lot from the sun
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oooh, our great American plutocracy is not gonna like this.
      ELG
      • 2 Years Ago
      giant brown blob. get a new photographer
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ultimately.... This will just make cars more expensive.
      Dwight Bynum Jr.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just came in here to comment on how off-putting the incredibly overweight man in the photo is, and as bad as this sounds, I don't even want to read the post because of it... :vomit:
      Brandon Allen
      • 2 Years Ago
      This won't make cars more expensive, this will keep automakers from delaying or avoiding recalls. They don't get fined for making the recalls, they get fined for missing them or doing them late.
      mawhalen53
      • 2 Years Ago
      Haha what is this picture?
      johnb
      • 2 Years Ago
      Of course they do. They're gonna need some "Walkin' round" money after all. Those beer tabs get expensive at the hotel bar.
      Rob Gomes
      • 2 Years Ago
      NHTSA also wants more cheeseburgers.
      JaylanPHNX
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not a shocker, since Ray LaHood is a power hungry A-hole.
      Car Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      The fines they want are more than ten times higher than in any other industry. Aerospace, food & drug, ect. I call BS because in will Be yet another cost passed onto the buyer.
        StegRacing@youtube
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        But there will be no cost/fine to pass on if they issue recalls in a timely manner. And if they are sneaky a**holes and end up with fines then they shouldn't be in the business of selling potentially lethal products.
      Design1stCode2nd
      • 2 Years Ago
      While I understand the point this will just make manufacturers try to avoid issuing recalls even more when there is a legitimate claim.
    • Load More Comments