• 12
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Transportation Se... U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announce the settlement (AP).
The U.S. has reached a $1.2 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp., concluding a four-year criminal investigation into the Japanese automaker's disclosure of safety problems, according to a person close to the investigation.

Attorney General Eric Holder, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, were announcing the settlement Wednesday morning, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the settlement on the record before the announcement.

TOP 5Most Researched Green Cars On AOL Autos
In a statement early Wednesday, Toyota said it has "cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's office in this matter for more than four years" and had "made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements."

The criminal investigation focused on whether Toyota was forthright in reporting problems related to unintended acceleration troubles.

Starting in 2009, Toyota issued massive recalls, mostly in the U.S., totaling more than 10 million vehicles for various problems including faulty brakes, gas pedals and floor mats. From 2010 through 2012, Toyota Motor Corp. paid fines totaling more than $66 million for delays in reporting unintended acceleration problems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration never found defects in electronics or software in Toyota cars, which had been targeted as a possible cause.

The settlement continues a string of bad publicity for Toyota, which before the unintended acceleration cases had a bulletproof image of reliability. Since the cases surfaced, the company's brand image has been damaged and it has lost U.S. market share as competition has intensified.

Last year, Toyota agreed to pay more than $1 billion to resolve hundreds of lawsuits claiming that owners of its cars suffered economic losses because of the recalls. But that settlement did not include wrongful death and injury lawsuits that have been consolidated in California state and federal courts.
In December, Toyota filed court papers after a four-year legal battle saying that it's in settlement talks on nearly 400 U.S. lawsuits, but other cases aren't included in the talks.

The negotiations come less than two months after an Oklahoma jury awarded $3 million in damages to the injured driver of a 2005 Camry and to the family of a passenger who was killed.

The ruling was significant because Toyota had won all previous unintended acceleration cases that went to trial. It was also the first case where attorneys for plaintiffs argued that the car's electronics - in this case the software connected to a midsize Camry's electronic throttle-control system - were the cause of the unintended acceleration.

At the time, legal experts said the Oklahoma verdict might cause Toyota to consider a broad settlement of the remaining cases. Until then, Toyota had been riding momentum from several trials where juries found it was not liable.

Toyota has blamed drivers, stuck accelerators or floor mats that trapped the gas pedal for the acceleration claims that led to the big recalls of Camrys and other vehicles. The company has repeatedly denied its vehicles are flawed.

No recalls have been issued related to problems with onboard electronics. In the Oklahoma case, Toyota attorneys theorized that the driver mistakenly pumped the gas pedal instead of the brake when her Camry ran through an intersection and slammed into an embankment.

But after the verdict, jurors told AP they believed the testimony of an expert who said he found flaws in the car's electronics.

Toyota also had to pay millions for recalls, as well as a series of fines totaling $68 million to the NHTSA, the U.S. government's road safety watchdog, for being slow to report acceleration problems.

Still, the payments won't hurt Toyota's finances very much. In its last fiscal quarter alone, Toyota posted a $5.2 billion profit, crediting a weak yen and strong global sales.

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
      • 1 Year Ago
      So where is the criminal charges and why is no one going to jail?
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does this money go to the families or does it go to the government for the politicians to spend on elections. With Holder involved, I don't see the victims getting a penny.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Now what is GM going to pay.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can you say Obamafia?
      • 1 Year Ago
      Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of Japs !!
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let's see if they go after government motors.
      mohammad hossein
      • 4 Months Ago

      My wife has had the same problem in April 2014 in Toronto and we are facing serious consequences for Camry 2014 acceleration problem which led into hitting 2 cars at the front and back. My wife had pushed the brake but instead the car got accelerated and hit the 2 cars front and back twice. We don't know what to do 

      • 1 Year Ago
      Doesn't seem like the right amount of money concidering how many people lost their lives in these kamakaze cars!
      This is pure bull, Toyota fixed the problem ASAP, look at GM with this cover up of vehicles for how many years and now they are just admitting they knew, bet Holder never goes after them and what they have done was far worse, wonder how many new GM cars have hidden problems GM is crossing their fingers that no one discovers. What is GM dong about the excessive oil use in their Acadia SUV, the one here at work already had to have an entire engine replaced in it, burned 3 quarts of oil every 1500 miles, sure there are many more out there that have this problem.
        • 1 Year Ago
        GM, FORD, CHRYSLER, the arsenal of democracy eddieboy,or you would be speaking jap
        • 1 Year Ago
        Why do some of you people like to bash American companies, while defending Asian ones? Are your personal lives that empty, where you have to criticize Americans at every turn? Your personal failure isn`t something you should blame on America.