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 spars with automakers defects, but government auditors and experts have criticized the for years for understaffing the defects and not having strong enough tools to spot problems the thousands of owner complaints and data it receives every In the GM ignition recall, dozens of complained to NHTSA and GM in the 13 years GM acted; a few reporters even flagged their problems stalling Cobalts, yet the agency open an investigation nor respond to consumers.

Those battles run both It’s common for automakers to with NHTSA for months or years to avoid the cost and of a defect; in several cases, have even said were issuing a recall not they believed a vehicle a safety problem, but to simply put a probe behind them.

not just Toyota who’s caught working the refs. year, Ford paid a $17.3 million fine the 2012 recall of 530,000 Escape and Mazda Tribute for a defect that could to a stuck throttle, a problem to several crashes and one death. had first asked Ford the problem in July 2012, and had issued a recall days — but regulators later found the had twice inspected crashed with the problem, dating to June 2009, and done

Like Toyota, GM has already to strengthen its rules around appointing a new executive in charge of It will now face the same Toyota did: congressional federal investigations and, in all sizable government fines and settlements. What’s not clear is whether these cases change how well automakers to their own customers who complain of defects — or whether those to protect owners will fix own machines.

Company Legal Law Matters Toyota NHTSA


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