Gov't. to seek $16M penalty over Toyota recalls

Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda reacts during a press conference following a meeting of the Special Committee for Global Quality at its headquarters Tuesday, March 30, 2010 in Toyota, central Japan. Toyota promised to respond faster to customer complaints as it held its first meeting of the committee of quality experts set up to help salvage a reputation battered by massive recalls and reports of runaway vehicles. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

April 5, 2010 1:17:07 PM PDT
The Transportation Department says it's seeking the maximum penalty, more than $16 million, against Toyota for failing to promptly notify the government about defective gas pedals among its vehicles. The fine would be the largest civil penalty ever issued to an automaker by the government.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says evidence shows that Toyota knew of the problem with sticking gas pedals in late September but did not issue a recall until late January.

Toyota has two weeks to accept or contest the $16.375 million penalty.

Toyota has recalled more than 6 million vehicles in the U.S., and more than 8 million worldwide, because of acceleration problems in multiple models and braking issues in the Prius hybrid.