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U.S. to demand Toyota records to ascertain timeliness of recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is about to announce that it is using its "statutory authority" to obtain documents from troubled Japanese auto giant Toyota to make sure it conducted its three big recalls in a timely manner.

"Safety recalls are very serious matters and automakers are required to quickly report defects," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement about to be released.

I'll quote here directly from the NHTSA release so you can see what the agency is after:

"The auto safety agency is requiring Toyota to provide documents showing when and how it learned of the defects affecting approximately 6 million vehicles in the U.S. alone. The probe will examine how the manufacturer learned of these defects, such as through consumer complaints or factory testing. Investigators are also looking into whether Toyota discovered the problems during pre-production or post-production of the affected vehicles. Officials are checking whether Toyota has covered all affected models in its recent recalls to ensure Toyota did not miss any problems. The agency will obtain information on production data, incidents, complaints, warranty complaints, copies of tests, dates of meetings, timelines, and supplier information.

NHTSA has the authority to seek civil penalties for a variety of violations by manufacturers, equipment suppliers, registered importers and vehicle customizers. If agency officials determine that an auto manufacturer violated its statutory obligations, the manufacturer could be liable for a maximum of $16.4 million in civil penalties."

Additional government pressure -- Congress is already nearly demanding that Toyota chief Akio Toyoda testify before the body -- is the last thing Toyota needs right now.

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By Frank Ahrens  |  February 16, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Akio Toyoda, Toyota Prius, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota recall model and years  
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Next: Rep. Issa supports subpoena of Toyota president -- but can he do that?


Toyota should tell the government just where to go. Who the hell does this government think they are? They have no business getting involved in this situation, THE GOVERNMENT HAS NO AUTHORITY TO CALL TOYOTA TO ANY MEETING WITH THEM. THE GOVERNMENT HAS WAY OVER STEPPED ITS BUSINESS AND AUTHORITY.


Posted by: prossers7 | February 16, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Prossers, what an intelligent and persuasive argument you make.
If Toyota would prefer to not share this information, they are welcome to sell their death traps in other countries and to get the hell out of ours.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | February 16, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Government is right to check on Toyota. But I have a feeling they are trying to put Toyota down and keep beating them down. They want to destroy them so the local manufacturers will have the edge now.

Posted by: Sanju | February 16, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

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