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Toyota agrees record $32.4m US fine over recalls

2005 Toyota Avalon
Image caption The latest recall affected certain Toyota Avalon models

Toyota has agreed to pay a record fine in the US of $32.4m (£20.8m) over its handling of millions of car recalls.

This is the second big fine the world's largest carmaker will pay to US authorities, after agreeing a $16.4m penalty in April.

The carmaker said it was "pleased to have resolved these legacy issues", but did not admit any violations of US law.

Toyota has recalled more than 10 million cars worldwide since September last year, issuing 14 recalls in 2010.

The latest fine also refers to recalls made in 2005 concerning steering defects in nearly one million vehicles.

"These agreements are an opportunity to turn the page to an even more constructive relationship with the [US] National Highway Safety Administration [NHSA] and focus even more on listening to our customers and meeting their high expectations for safe and reliable vehicles," said Steve St Angelo, Toyota's chief quality officer in North America.

He added that the carmaker had "substantially strengthened" its ability to investigate customer concerns in recent months.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also said he was "pleased that Toyota agreed to pay the maximum possible penalty".

Brake defects

In September last year, Toyota recalled 4 million cars after fears that the accelerator pedal could get stuck on the floormat.

In January this year, it recalled a further 2.3 million cars to fix potentially faulty accelerator pedals.

In August, it recalled a further 1.1 million Corolla and Matrix models over an engine control system fault, and in October it called in more than 1.5 million cars over brake and fuel pump defects.

The carmaker was harshly criticised over the earlier recalls for not acting more quickly.

The NHSA said Toyota had not reported the defects to it within the stipulated time allowed.

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