Toyota Announces $1 billion Settlement

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The Justice Department is set to announce as soon as Wednesday a billion-dollar agreement with Toyota to settle a federal probe of the automaker’s handling of customer complaints related to unintended acceleration, people familiar with the deal said.

The investigation led by the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has examined allegations that the Japanese automotive giant initially misled federal authorities after the complaints became a source of controversy in 2009.

Under the settlement, Toyota is expected to avoid criminal charges and is expected to pay about $1 billion, those familiar with the agreement said.

“Toyota has cooperated with the U.S. attorney’s office in this matter for more than four years,” a Toyota spokeswoman said. “During that time, we have made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements.”

The Justice Department didn’t comment on the planned announcement.

Toyota recalled millions of cars in 2009-10, after years of doing little beyond changing floor mats in response to complaints to federal auto safety regulators about acceleration problems in popular models.

Regulators were also criticized for their handling of the matter in the years leading up to the massive recalls.

Top company executives came under fire in two congressional hearings during that time in which lawmakers accused Toyota of not doing enough to respond to safety concerns. Stiff safety fines were imposed by the Transportation Department.

Toyota has settled similar allegations in agreements with a group of states, and has also paid settlements to some Toyota car owners.

The Toyota agreement comes with Bharara’s office just starting to look into a safety issue at General Motors. The FBI, which conducted the Toyota probe, is now gathering evidence on the GM complaints.

GM has recalled 1.6 million vehicles worldwide over an ignition switch problem. GM engineers apparently knew about it years ago but the Detroit automaker did not move to recall vehicles until last month.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Nothing more than the feds insuring that your average person can not afford a care. This will be passed on to consumers. Let agenda 21 proceed.

  2. Shades of Ford’s Pinto. Humans are nothing more than food bought at the cheapest price for the multinationals.
    Uncle Sam had a particular hard on for Toyota, so when caught doing the normal they got stung harder then a UAW shop would.. Too bad Toyota’s victims won’t see any of the billion paid to Brother.

  3. If ever there were such a blessed doctrine, as being permitted one free baseball bat beat-down of a public serpent, I think I would use mine on Preet Bharara.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/preet-bharara-feasts-on-raw-meat-2013-8

    Preetinder Singh Bharara, born in Ferozepur, Punjab, India, is the current U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In 2012, Bharara was named by Time magazine as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World,” and by India Abroad as its 2011 Person of the Year.

    “Since 9/11, crime has gone global and national security threats are now global. In my view the long arm of the law has to get even longer. We can’t wait until bombs are going off.”

    Bharara has been very active in prosecuting online poker. In 2010, he “threatened an Australian payment processor with up to 75 years in prison for helping online poker companies do business with their U.S. customers. In April 2011, Bharara charged 11 founding members of internet gambling companies and their associates involved with pay processing with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling under the UIGE Act of 2006.

    Preet Bharara is the reason you can’t play Online Poker anymore
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/07/online-poker-company-oks-multimillion-dollar-deal-with-feds-/1#.UymMKeR78-U

    Not a big fan.

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