"By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said according to DetNews.
"I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly. We are continuing to investigate whether the company has lived up to all its disclosure obligations."
"NHTSA's $16.375 million civil penalty was firm, but fair given what we have discovered in our investigation of the Toyota recalls," said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, the man in charge with a new Toyota hearing next month. "Toyota was wise not to contest the penalty and we will continue to monitor Toyota's response to consumer complaints."
The implicit acknowledgement of the blame is, however, just that. Toyota agreed to pay the fine and made a deal with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) which states that the latter will not make any "formal findings with respect to Toyota's violations." According to the documents made public by DetNews, Toyota denies any wrongdoing.
"We agreed to this settlement in order to avoid a protracted dispute and possible litigation," the manufacturer says. "We regret that NHTSA tentatively concluded that they should seek a civil penalty."