According to those all-too-nebulous "people familiar with the matter," Toyota is close to a settlement with the US federal government to end a criminal probe over its long-running unintended acceleration fiasco. Though Toyota has never admitted guilt, the deal could reportedly crest a billion dollars and would likely include a criminal deferred prosecution agreement, and while we're not legal experts, The Wall Street Journal explains that such a deal would "[force Toyota] to accept responsibility while avoiding the potentially crippling consequences of federal criminal convictions."

The report from WSJ also suggests that Toyota is facing charges that it "made false or incomplete disclosures" to various government agencies regarding possible defects to its cars. Such charges may include mail and wire fraud violations. Toyota has already paid out fines totaling $66.2 million to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because it failed to report safety defects in a timely manner.

This deal with the federal government is not related to the billion-dollar class-action settlement reached with Toyota owners over falling vehicle values, and it's also different from the roughly 400 lawsuits still in courts alleging personal injury of wrongful death due to cases of unintended acceleration. In other words, don't expect to hear the end of such courtroom verdicts and settlements anytime soon...


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
  • 68 Comments
      VDuB
      • 10 Months Ago
      I feel bad for Toyota. Just because a few dumb Americans couldn't figure out which pedal was the accelerator and which was the brake, they have to pay a billion dollars.
        Indubitably
        • 10 Months Ago
        @VDuB
        The claims weren't just in America...
          normc32
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Indubitably
          Defective pedals explained here: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/02/toyota-gas-pedal-fix-explained-with-exclusive-photos/
      mx5hong
      • 10 Months Ago
      Didn't NASA, not too long ago couldn't rind anything? They went over every single line of code in the ECU and bombarded a car with all sorts of electro magnetic radiation and nothing. And oh, what about Canada? They get the exact same models the U.S. gets. Heck, some Toyotas and Lexus are even made there. Are there any reports with Canadians with out of control Toyotas?
        reattadudes
        • 10 Months Ago
        @mx5hong
        you seem to be a little short on facts here. first, Canada doesn't get "the exact same models the US gets". the United States was the only country in the WORLD that Toyota did not install the simple software in their ECMs that would have prevented this. they only began to do it after these cases began to emerge. ALL other auto manufacturers in the world have had this software for over ten years. Toyota decided to be cheap, and did not install in in vehicles in their largest market, the United States. for more information, read my other post down below. no corporation is going to pay out over a billion dollars if there wasn't a problem. but I do guarantee everyone involved is signing hold harmless agreements and gag orders.
          Famsert
          • 10 Months Ago
          @reattadudes
          Do you have a source for yoru claim that only the US had different software? AFAIK, Canada BUILDS some Toyotas that get sent to the US so how could the US not get the ECM software when the Canadians did? And yes corporations will pay a billion dollars even if there wasn't a problem because ultimately they need to bow to the government to sell in the profitable US market. Mind addressing my comment below that Ford actually had more unintended acceleration complaints than Toyota before the media fiasco yet was never tarred and feathered like Toyota? STRANGE HUH?
          Big Joe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @reattadudes
          This was all set up by one of the big 3( GM,Ford,Chrysler), they were at a time when sales were down, Gm, Chrysler getting the bail out funds from the government, dealers were shutting down left and right. Then Toyota sales were doing good at the time, and the only way to tarnish a brand and to make it lose its sales is to make it look bad and unsafe. People in America are very unintelligent , not able to read the book, they only see the covers and they get very worried. 90% of them will look else where when they feel a car has bad review, or unsafe. Guess what, in a 6 month span the big 3 sales slowly climbed back up while Toyota sales decline slightly, but not long before it rose back up again. Do your research and see for yourself. The timeframe it was in, the bail out and dealers shutting down, Toyota sales are high, no other country has this issue but america. Toyota had 2 supplier for throttle unit Denso and CTS, CTS were the recall models that had the problems and CTS plants is in Canada. Canada hates america.
        normc32
        • 10 Months Ago
        @mx5hong
        NASA didn't examine all the code and used a different criteria. Toyota wouldn't allow access to all the code. There is proven a failsafes in Toyota software. There was nothing wrong with the software but having no failsafes from buffers, over processing ecus....is a reciepe for disaster.
          normc32
          • 10 Months Ago
          @normc32
          http://www.safetyresearch.net/2013/11/07/toyota-unintended-acceleration-and-the-big-bowl-of-spaghetti-code/
      Anonymous Howard
      • 10 Months Ago
      The Govt. wants Toyota to pay a $1 billion fine because of user error? Toyota has never admitted guilt because there was nothing wrong with their cars, something which the NHTSA and NASA confirmed in their investigations (http://www.nhtsa.gov/UA). I cannot believe Toyota had to pay the NHTSA $66.2 million for failing to "report safety defects in a timely manner" when there were no safety defects.... at least none that the NHTSA and NASA could find. This is retarded.
        carfan
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Anonymous Howard
        ahhh the good old CONSPIRACY theory! If all else fails, the good old conspiracy theory will solve the Toyota problem. IDIOT!!! BTW you are the retarded one for 1. buying a Toyota 2. for defending this POS company
          wanderlust
          • 10 Months Ago
          @carfan
          Attacks ad hominem and caps just make you look immature carfan.
        rubley00
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Anonymous Howard
        Toyota, more specifically Lexus, had a history of not reporting things that were defects, and instead only notified dealers to fix problems if customers complained. I experienced that first hand with a Lexus transmission that didn't always know what gear it should be in, making merging into traffic not always fun. Should have been a recall. It wasn't, because Toyota didn't want to publicize it.
      PICKLEBOY
      • 10 Months Ago
      The amount of Toyota hate from readers of Autoblog is so ignorant, we all know they are reliable and capable machines just because they done exude performance doesn't mean they're crappy cars I mean damn
      Azar Hadi
      • 10 Months Ago
      DURISHIN, IT WAS NOT MY ERROR WHEN MY LEXUS DECIDED TO DRIVE AND GO OVER 100 MILES AN HOUR. I WAS ONLY 45 YEARS OLD. I ENDED UP WITH TWO CRUSHED LEGS. 24 SURGERIES AND MORE IN THE FUTURE. UNINTENDED ACCELERATION IS REAL. PLEASE GOOGLE AND READ.
        fordskydog
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Azar Hadi
        Do not believe you. Why didn't you put it in neutral right away.
        Big Joe
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Azar Hadi
        Thats what happens when you are high, on meth, bath salt , coke, and play a lot of Forza. It becomes a reality. other than that here are the facts so you know who caused it .This was all set up by one of the big 3( GM,Ford,Chrysler), they were at a time when sales were down, Gm, Chrysler getting the bail out funds from the government, dealers were shutting down left and right. Then Toyota sales were doing good at the time, and the only way to tarnish a brand and to make it lose its sales is to make it look bad and unsafe. People in America are very unintelligent , not able to read the book, they only see the covers and they get very worried. 90% of them will look else where when they feel a car has bad review, or unsafe. Guess what, in a 6 month span the big 3 sales slowly climbed back up while Toyota sales decline slightly, but not long before it rose back up again. Do your research and see for yourself. The timeframe it was in, the bail out and dealers shutting down, Toyota sales are high, no other country has this issue but america. Toyota had 2 supplier for throttle unit Denso and CTS, CTS were the recall models that had the problems and CTS plants is in Canada. Canada hates america.
        Big Rocket
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Azar Hadi
        @Azar Hadi: Unintended all caps?
      JC914
      • 10 Months Ago
      This a smear campaign from the "Good Ole Boys" club... You know what I'm talking about. Murica... **** Yeah!
      scott3
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is another case of "Hello we are from the government and we are here to protect you!" I hate Toyota and would never even consider owning one but I fully support them here as this is just another case of Government run amuck. Time for the government to stop getting so involved in things they have idea what they are getting into. While it is Toyota this time who is next? Ford, Honda, GM, Chrysler, Nissan, Benz, BMW....No one is safe! We need tort reform in law suits here and with the regulating groups and justice department we have our industry will be hamstrung for years to come with unproven cases.
      Avinash Machado
      • 10 Months Ago
      Most of these were likely case of drivers hitting the wrong pedal.
        steve
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        If that were true, you would have several similar deaths while people were driving Ford, GM, Nissan, VW, Chrysler, Honda, etc vehicles....... It is either due to Toyota vehicles or it shows how stupid and dangerous Toyota owners and drivers really are....
        b.rn
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        Avinash is correct. Many the cases were the result of driver error. Some were not. Toyota admitted to physically sticky pedals, eventually. It's the "eventually" part that gets Toyota in trouble. When questioned about reports of unintended acceleration in the US, Toyota said they knew nothing. In reality, they were currently recalling cars in the UK for the exact same problem. Toyota got caught in a lie. That's one of the reasons they're in trouble.
      sforza209
      • 10 Months Ago
      Is that how the NHTSA gets the majority of their funding? From multimillion dollar lawsuits??
        Renaurd
        • 10 Months Ago
        @sforza209
        No but Toyota makes their big bucks from selling cheap, unsafe crap at high prices.
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Renaurd
          [blocked]
      Max
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'm still skeptical about the claims here. It seems to me that this unintended acceleration incidences are only occurring in America, by automatic transmission drivers, and largely by drivers who are not experienced driving the car (a number of cases were drivers who were borrowing the car from a friend/relative). It seems to me that user error is more likely at play. Toyota isn't the only manufacturer that driver's say are at fault...they just happen to be the largest seller of cars in the US.
        mhw
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Max
        Also, don't forget they are drivers over the age of 65.
        reattadudes
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Max
        perhaps you failed to notice that the US was the ONLY country in the world where Toyota (and Lexus) didn't bother to install software that would prevent unintended acceleration, and they only added it here three years ago. ALL other auto manufacturers in the world have had this software in place for over ten years, EXCEPT Toyota. were you skeptical when the CHP officer in California went to a fiery death in a dealer loaner Lexus that left the roadway (a surface street) at over 100MPH, and exploded? would you like to question HIS driving skills? by the way, this 20+ year veteran of the CHP had one specialty: he taught other CHP officers on what to expect during high speed emergency maneuvers. do you think he would have kept a cool head at all times? did you hear the recording of the frantic conversation of his brother-in-law, who was in the back seat? the emergency brake immediately burnt up, the drive by wire start/stop ignition didn't do anything, and neither did the gear shift lever, which was also drive by wire, NOT cable operated. EVERYTHING was controlled by the ECM, which went haywire. when law enforcement arrived, they said the front brakes were on fire, and the brake pedal support was bent over three inches. did I mention that five other people who had used that loaner before complained about the same thing, and there were NO floor mats in the car? no company pays out over a billion dollars if there was "nothing wrong", or it was caused by "driver error". when the recall began and millions of cars came into dealers, that " accelerator pedal replacement" was only a smokescreen. the REAL issue they were addressing was the reprogramming of the ECM to make the engine go to idle if both the brake and accelerator pedals were pushed down all the way at the same time. you have to remember that executives from Japanese auto manufacturers have nothing but disdain for Americans, and our litigious society. in Japan, victims would be silenced, payoffs would be made to the right government officials, and the whole thing would be swept under the rug. do a Google search and see how many thousands of people died in Japan due to faulty brakes on Mitsubishi medium duty trucks over several decades, and it was (again) swept under the rug. do you realize there is not a single government agency in Japan for consumers to complain to, or report problems? I wonder how many thousands of cars are still out there that failed to get the ECM updates.
          mhw
          • 10 Months Ago
          @reattadudes
          That is 100% untrue, that Lexus had All Weather floor mats designed for another vehicle, a Rx 400h. That was accident, for sure, very tragic and terrible, and also sensational, and unfortunately it led to people piling on fake claims. The median age of a Camry buyer in 2006 was mid-late 50s. Camry was and is the best selling mid-size vehicle in the US for over a decade. Most unintended acceleration claims were made by drivers over 65 who hit the wrong pedal. It's not hard to see the connection. Companies pay big money fines all the time if there is nothing wrong, the bad PR generated by fighting the fines would cost more than the fine itself. 99% of previous Toyota owners realize that this is a non-issue mechanically for Toyota. Granted, there is no good explanation for that tragic California crash. I have a 2006 IS350, and I refused the ECM and pedal "update". At highway speed, with the pedal to the floor, my car will slip into neutral no problem, then hit the rev limiter. The real design problem there was the fact that the Start/Stop button need to be pressed for 2 seconds straight to shut off the car. I feel like we will never know what the real cause of that accident was.
          PICKLEBOY
          • 10 Months Ago
          @reattadudes
          I ignored your first reply you made to a comment before this one but I can't ignore this one, You seem to be a little crazy my friend, especially with your last bit of nonsense. Had it ever occurred to you that maybe one person made a claim on unintended acceleration and others followed suit. People sue over BS all the time and get away with it. You saying all the thousands on the road without the "update" as if all the cars are going to just start driving away by themselves. If this was a real problem there would be many more cases than the so called "incidents" there have claimed to be.
      ken
      • 10 Months Ago
      Toyota sells more than 10 million cars per year and the throttle controls and ECUs are almost identical across the range. If there are defective parts that cause unintended acceleration, thousands would have been killed by now, not dozens. I think this "leaked news" is just a tactic to force Toyota into submission, not an actual settlement.
        normc32
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ken
        Software glitches are not traceable: http://www.safetyresearch.net/2013/11/07/toyota-unintended-acceleration-and-the-big-bowl-of-spaghetti-code/
        normc32
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ken
        So why doesn't VW or GM have the same number of recalls if they share the same suppliers?
          clquake
          • 10 Months Ago
          @normc32
          Same suppliers doesn't mean same parts.
          Famsert
          • 10 Months Ago
          @normc32
          No government pressure to do so. It's known that Ford had more UA complaints than Toyota before the media Fiasco and GM almost as much as Toyota yet they were never forced to recall a thing.
        404 not found
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ken
        Finally, a logical comment.
      Parris Boyd
      • 10 Months Ago
      Renowned software expert Michael Barr's recent findings that Toyota's software has bugs causing sudden unintended acceleration sure has put the Recall King in "hush things up" - er I mean "settlement" mode. Barr's findings are gradually getting publicized, and I've been bloggin' 'bout the Recall King for years, ever since the engine disintegrated in my MR2 Spyder. Search "Beware of Toyota. Their next victim may be YOU..."
        PICKLEBOY
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Parris Boyd
        You sit just had bad luck. I have never heard of a well maintained Toyota engine just "disintegrating" if that's the case you are a very VERY unlucky soul as most Toyotas, the engines at least, last forever if they're maintained. My uncle just sold his toyota that had 310k miles on it still running strong, but wait toyota is looking for their next victim right?
        rubley00
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Parris Boyd
        He found deficiencies in the code, but that's far from proving that a claimed instance of UA is the fault of the code.
    • Load More Comments