Toyota has received a record penalty, having to pay now no less than $1.2 billion. A judge has decided to give this penalty to the famous car maker, as it seems that it failed to protect consumers from unexpected acceleration in their vehicles.
A judge claimed that they finally accepted the deal that will allow Toyota to escape prosecution by paying this sum of money. According to the judge, William H. Pauley III, this case is corporate fraud. The judge claimed that prosecutors should investigate who were behind the company when this happened.
Tragedy occurred when a family of four died in San Diego after a crash. It seems that the acceleration problems in the vehicle were the ones to blame for this unfortunate situation. Toyota claimed that almost immediately after learning about this problem, they reacted in the proper way.
Toyota said that they addressed the issue in the time limits and they recalled the models that were susceptible to experience this issue. Still, the limited safety recall actually meant that Toyota has failed to recall some models that might have had this issue, as well.
Actually, Toyota was criticized, as it has been claimed that the company treated this problem as it had simply been a public relations issue. There is no wonder that the company received the biggest penalty of this kind that has been imposed to a car maker until now.
In the deal that Toyota got, the company admitted to have misled customers about two important problems that caused cars to accelerate, while drivers were actually trying to hit the break. Some claim that this was a mistake for Toyota, as the negative consequences that it can have on its image are disastrous.
Initially, Toyota denied that it had an idea about the existence of a certain issue in its cars. However, a FBI investigation revealed that the company actually knew about this defect much sooner. Five deaths have been linked to the case so far, so the company still faces hundreds of private lawsuits.
Toyota has released a statement following the events. The company said that “we have gone back to basics at Toyota to put our customers first. We have made fundamental changes across our global operations to become a more responsive company.”