Two years ago, in front of a congressional committee, Toyota's U.S. sales chief vowed that the Japanese automaker had learned hard lessons from its mishandling of hundreds of complaints about floor mats that could trap accelerator pedals. Toyota, he said, had changed its management and its procedures; recalls would now be overseen by an executive with a direct line to chief executive Akio Toyoda, and it would avoid the mistakes that led to three fines totaling $49 million.
Today, Toyota agreed to pay another $17.35 million fine and go on an unprecedented form of auto safety probation for hiding reports of trapped accelerator pedals from U.S. auto safety regulators. Those officials found earlier this year that owners of 2010 Lexus RX350 sport utility vehicles were suffering the same problem Toyota vowed it had fixed in 2010, spawning another recall in June that was expanded yet again to Toyota Land Cruisers last month, for a total of 164,601 vehicles.
How it happened again remains an unanswered question.Read More »from Toyota hit with $17.35 million fine, probation for hiding safety defects — again