Just two years after Toyota paid fines totaling $48.8 million, including a then-record single fine of $16.4 million, the automaker has been hit with a new $17.4 million fine over a delayed pedal entrapment recall on 2010 Lexus RX 350
and RX 450h models
As CNN Money
explains, the NHTSA contacted Toyota in May, after receiving several reports of pedal entrapment from owners of 2010 Lexus RX models. In June, Toyota responded to the NHTSA, admitting that 63 such incidents, some dating back to 2009, had been reported on the Lexus
Toyota then followed up with the recall of some 150,000 RX models
, including both gas and hybrid variants, but the NHTSA saw the response as coming too late after the initial reports. In turn, it’s fined Toyota $17.4 million over the incident, the highest amount ever charged to an automaker.
As part of the settlement, Toyota avoids admitting it was at fault in the incident, but agrees to further restructuring of its quality assurance group. It will also undertake a review of all safety-related issues as a result of this latest fine.
Will this be the final chapter in Toyota and Lexus’ unintended acceleration saga? Will Toyota be more proactive in addressing future safety issues? We sincerely hope the answer to both questions is ‘yes.’