Toyota’s $1.2 billion fine, GM recall highlight defects in U.S. auto safety…

28 Апр 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
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Toyota’s $1.2 billion GM recall highlight defects in auto safety

The announcement by U.S. federal prosecutors of a billion payment by Toyota to prosecution over safety linked to 37 deaths closes the on a dark moment for the world’s automaker — just as General struggles to answer questions its own delayed recall of 1.6 million linked to at least 12 deaths.

But the settlement and the GM ignition recall highlight the key flaw in the safety net supposed to protect Americans dangerous flaws in their Just because you have a doesn’t guarantee anyone hear — or believe — you.

At so far, Toyota’s crimes its sudden acceleration and stuck recalls from 2009 and are an order of magnitude greater what’s been shown GM. GM engineers knew about a as early as 2001 with Cobalts and Saturn Ions off due to bad ignition switches, but failed to ask for a until earlier this Toyota executives also about potential problems floor mats and gas pedals for but even after a preliminary misled consumers and the National Traffic Safety Administration the true scope and nature of the until forcefully threatened by in early 2010. The automaker recalled 9.4 million vehicles.

Toyota executives testify a U.S. House committee in

Had Toyota not settled with the Department of Justice, federal were prepared to charge the with wire fraud for thousands of vehicles from 2009 through March that its engineers knew to defective accelerator pedals. And $1.2 billion will the profits of the world’s largest for a quarter, the total could been far higher; had NHTSA’s not been limited by federal law to $17 per defect case, it could fined Toyota $13 billion.

It’s still the largest ever paid by an automaker in history.

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Put Toyota’s conduct was shameful, U.S. Attorney General Holden. It showed a blatant for systems and laws designed to after the safety of consumers. By the own admission, it protected its brand of its own customers.

Other car companies not repeat Toyota’s mistake: a may damage a company’s reputation, but your customers makes damage far more lasting.

before today’s settlement, had vowed to change how it handled with new executives, committees and that have sped its in the years since; the deal federal prosecutors adds an monitor for three years to the company lives up to its promises. But changes will only one part of the system meant to defective cars from or killing their occupants. And as the GM shows, that system has of its own.

Every year, automakers roughly 150 to 180 recalls; last those campaigns affected than 16 million cars and with Toyota alone 5 million vehicles with defects. In the majority of cases, the issues the recall on its own volition, and in cases there are no injuries But the remainder come at the urging of the Highway Traffic Safety which collects consumer and data from automakers potential defects.

NHTSA often spars automakers over defects, but auditors and safety experts criticized the agency for years for the defects office and not having enough data tools to problems from the thousands of complaints and other data it every year. In the GM ignition dozens of owners complained to and GM in the 13 years before GM acted; a few even publicly flagged problems with stalling yet the agency didn’t open an nor respond to worried consumers.

battles run both ways. common for automakers to fight NHTSA for months or even to avoid the cost and embarrassment of a in several cases, automakers even said they issuing a recall not because believed a vehicle posed a problem, but to simply put a NHTSA behind them.

It’s not just Toyota been caught working the Last year, Ford NHTSA a $17.3 million over the 2012 recall of Ford Escape and Mazda SUVs for a defect that lead to a stuck throttle, a linked to several crashes and one NHTSA had first asked about the problem in July and Ford had issued a recall later — but regulators later the automaker had twice inspected Escapes with the problem, back to June 2009, and nothing.

Like Toyota, GM has vowed to strengthen its rules recalls, appointing a new executive in of recalls. It will now face the gantlet Toyota did: hearings, federal investigations in all likelihood, sizable government and legal settlements. What’s not today is whether these will change how well listen to their own customers who of safety defects — or whether paid to protect owners fix their own machines.

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