SEARCH BLOG: AUTOMOBILES
This all over the news:
U.S. fining Toyota $16.4 million over recall delayThe fine is the least of the problems... peanuts to Toyota. The real issue is the spate of litigation that is sure to follow... and the tarnish to their reputation.
Mon Apr 5, 2010 5:50pm EDT
(Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp faces a proposed $16.4 million fine from U.S. regulators, the maximum penalty allowed under current laws, after the automaker failed to notify the government in a timely way about accelerator pedal flaws that were the subject of a massive recall in January.
The U.S. Transportation Department said on Monday that safety regulators were still determining whether Toyota had additional violations that would warrant more penalties.
"We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families."
The penalty by the Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would be the largest fine ever levied against an auto manufacturer by the government.
Toyota has the right to appeal the penalty.
The previous largest fine was $1 million against General Motors because of a windshield wiper failure in 2002-2003 model vehicles.
I remember decades ago being told by my automotive industry boss that the reason the Japanese vehicles had such great quality reputations rested on their ability to force their customers to return to their dealerships or the warranty was voided. Once there, if a problem was found by the dealership and it was determined to be a warranty issue, the vehicle would be fixed... and the customer would never know there was a problem. Hence, the cars never had any problems... and they were vastly superior to U.S cars that got serviced at the local gas station.
Perhaps this practice of hiding problems just became ingrained too deeply.