Bluntly put, the US has "have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations" and that the carmaker "knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families." Nasty...
What's nastier, however, is that should Toyota pay the fine without challenging it, it implicitly admits to all the accusations. Accusations which, although obviously based on fact, were never admitted to by the carmaker.
That's why Toyota is yet undecided on how to handle the fine. A record in itself, the $16.4 million fine is surely not the end of the world for Toyota. Yet, the carmaker is "in the process of coming to a decision, and we're not sure when that will be finalized," as Cindy Knight, a Toyota spokeswoman told DetNews.
Toyota has until April 19 to respond in writing, with NHTSA saying the carmaker will be taken to court and forced to pay should it raise objections.
The NHTSA also announced it sent the letter notifying Toyota about the fine on Monday.
Seen from Japan, the fine is "based on laws in the United States" and leaves no room from intervention, Masayuki Naoshima, Japanese economy, trade and industry minister said yesterday.