Cars

Toyota to pay $1.2B to settle criminal probe

Utah police in 2010 suspected problems with a Toyota Camry’s accelerator or floor mat caused a crash that killed two.
Utah police in 2010 suspected problems with a Toyota Camry’s accelerator or floor mat caused a crash that killed two.Utah Highway Patrol via associated Press/File 2010

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WASHINGTON — Toyota, making an unusual admission of wrongdoing involving defects that caused vehicles to accelerate unexpectedly and resulted in deaths, agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle an investigation by the US government.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday the penalty was the largest of its kind imposed on an auto company. The four-year criminal investigation focused on whether Toyota promptly reported the problems related to unintended acceleration.

The company admitted to misleading consumers and regulators by assuring them that it had adequately addressed an acceleration problem stemming from ill-fitting floor mats— which attracted widespread publicity in 2009 following a car crash in San Diego that killed a family of four — through a limited safety recall of certain models.

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