Toyota announced it will pay $29 million to American Samoa and 29 states to settle the safety recalls suit.
In 2010 Toyota was sued by State attorneys after the automaker recalled 14 million vehicles for accelerating without warning. The company was accused of failing to promptly notify buyers about this issue. Attorneys general found out that the main problem for which the company failed to do this was the poor communication between the automaker’s headquarters in Japan and its US operation.
Toyota said it will improve communications, give its executives in the US more decision-making power and post owners’ manuals online, to make sure that each customer can easily access vehicle information. Toyota will also increase the number of its rapid response teams, which respond to reported safety issues in 24 hours.
Toyota blamed driver error, faulty floor mats and sticky gas pedals for the acceleration issue, and the NHTSA and NASA, after thorough investigations, agreed with the automaker that the electronics were not the cause of the problem. Until now, the Japanese automaker has paid more than $1 billion for the settlement of the safety recalls, from which a record $17.4 million fine to the U.S. government because it failed to quickly report and deal with the safety problems.