In addition to the fines, Toyota has agreed to restructure the way it handles quality control and review "safety-related issues." Though the Japanese automaker has not admitted any wrongdoing, Toyota has agreed to meet with NHTSA for six months on the matter and may extend the meetings another six months.
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he is counting on Toyota to improve its ability to address such safety issues: "With today's announcement, I expect Toyota to rigorously reinforce its commitment to adhering to the United States safety regulations," he said in a statement.
According to the report, Toyota has recalled more vehicles than any other automaker so far this year – 5.3 million in 13 separate campaigns – putting it about two million units ahead of second-place Honda.
This latest fine is a drop in the bucket compared to Toyota's expected global profits of $9.7 billion by the end of March, 2013. That said, Congress has already agreed to a new fine that will push the maximum penalty for delayed recalls up to $35 million. This increase will take effect in 2013.