Toyota has agreed to pay a maximum $16.375 million (£10.69m) fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for failing to inform the US department for almost four months about a sticking accelerator fault in some of its cars.
However, the firm has denied any wrongdoing and said it "did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem”. Toyota said it was agreeing to pay the fine to “avoid a protracted dispute and possible litigation” and hoped that by paying the fine, it could begin “a new, more transparent chapter" with the NHTSA.
US transportation secretary Ray LaHood said, “By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk.
“I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly. We are continuing to investigate whether the company has lived up to all its disclosure obligations."
The fine was the maximum allowed by US law. The Detroit News has claimed that if the $16.375m cap didn’t exist, the NHTSA could have charged Toyota up to $6000 (£3900) per vehicle recalled, which would have meant a $13.8 billion (£9.013bn) fine.