In a statement released yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he intends to levy a $16.4 million fine, the largest allowed by law, against embattled, multinational Toyota Motor Company.
If successful, this would be the largest civil fine ever levied against a car manufacturer; it is based, in part, onToyota's handling of the recent recall that pulled about 2.3 million vehicles, with “sticky” accelerator pedals, off of the road. LaHood says Toyota knew about their cars' accelerator problems for months before informing the U.S. government.
Micheline Maynard, Detroit Bureau Chief for our partner The New York Times chronicles the latest legislative blow to the car maker but also wonders, is the fine a large enough punitive measure, in light of new and still unfolding information about the company’s slow response to life threatening system failures?
[Toyota has] been talking about quality ever since they got to the United States in the late 1950's, so they do have that base to work from. But as we're finding in this 24-hour, fast media cycle, you know once it starts to stick, it's harder to get rid of it.