WASHINGTON, March 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday announced the agreement reached with Japanese car giant Toyota, which required Toyota to pay 1.2 billion U.S. dollars for defrauding consumers in the fall of 2009 and early 2010.
Under the agreement, Toyota admitted that it misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about two safety issues which caused a type of unintended acceleration.
"Rather than promptly disclosing and correcting safety issues about which they were aware, Toyota made misleading public statements to consumers and gave inaccurate facts to Members of Congress," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
"If any part of the automobile turns out to have safety issues, the car company has a duty to be upfront about them, to fix them quickly, and to immediately tell the truth about the problem and its scope," Holder said.
Besides huge penalty, an independent monitor will be imposed on Toyota to review and assess policies, practices and procedures relating to Toyota's safety-related public statements and reporting obligations.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Wednesday's penalties send "a powerful message" to all manufacturers to follow the U.S. recall requirements or they will suffer "serious consequences."