Toyota has agreed to pay a record fine of $16.4m (£10.7m) to the US Department of Transportation for failing to report defects in some of its vehicles’ accelerator pedals.
The Japanese carmaker denied hiding the defects, but again acknowledged that it could have handled the issue better.
Some 2.3 million Toyotas were recalled in the US in January amid reports the accelerator pedals could become stuck.
After paying the biggest fine ever handed out by the US Department of Transportation on Monday, Toyota insisted it had not violated safety regulations and was only paying the fine “to avoid a protracted dispute and possible litigation”.
“I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement.
“By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk.”
Executives from Toyota were fiercely criticised in the US Congress and the company’s once high reputation has been left in tatters.
Toyota has recalled more than 8m vehicles since late 2009 for brake and accelerator defects, and is facing 97 lawsuits for damages for injury or death linked to claims that cars were faulty.
Source: BBC News