In what appears to be the closing of the final chapter in the unintended acceleration recall saga, Toyota has officially announced yesterday that they have reached a settlement with the United States government, thus ending the criminal investigation. Toyota has agreed to pay $1.2 billion dollars.
The criminal investigation largely dealt with whether or not the Japanese automaker withheld vital information from federal regulators, as well as complaints from owners. Moreover, Toyota wound up recalling well over 10 million vehicles as a proactive measure. Solutions varied from modifying the floor mats, adjusting the gas pedals, as well as installing brake override software specifically for the affected vehicles...they also included the software on all new models thereafter.
The settlement did not disclose whether or not Toyota would be allow to avoid federal criminal convictions, or that it would have to accept responsibility for their (in)actions. That being said, according to company spokesperson Steve Curtis, in a statement to Bloomberg, "Toyota has cooperated with the US Attorney's office in this matter for more than four years. During that time, we have made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements".
Despite Toyota reaching this historic settlement, they are still dealing with numerous class-action lawsuits, having already settled with previous and current owners for millions of dollars.