There has been more bad news for Toyota. It’s being reported that the automaker waited nearly a year to issue a U.S. recall in 2005 over defective steering rods in trucks and SUVs. This delay occurred even though there was a similar recall in Japan. There were also dozens of reports from American motorists about rods that snapped without warning. The gap between the Japanese and U.S. recalls has triggered a new review by NHTSA, which could fine the automaker up to $16.4 million. As we have previously reported, NHTSA has already leveled a $16.4 million fine against Toyota because of other safety violations. The latest news on how Toyota handles safety issues and recalls was uncovered by an Associated Press investigation.
The AP’s findings are interesting because Toyota has been accused of ignoring foreign recalls and consumer complaints in delaying a recall for the unintended acceleration problems. The result was the huge safety scandal – and numerous recalls – since the crash death of a California highway patrolman and his family last summer brought the issue to the public’s attention. Thus far, NHTSA has linked 16 crashes, three deaths and seven injuries to the steering defect. Toyota claimed initially after the 2004 Japanese recall that it had little evidence of a U.S. problem. But the AP investigation has found that the automaker had received at least 52 reports from U.S. drivers. It would appear that a media outlet is having to do a job that is the responsibility of NHTSA.
Source: USA Today and Associated Press
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