Toyota’s actions were laid out in a Statement of Facts as part of Toyota’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Department of Justice
Regarding Unintended Acceleration, here are a few actions Toyota has admitted:
- According to a January 2010 report of a discussion following a meeting between TOYOTA and its regulator, one Toyota employee was said to exclaim, “Idiots! Someone will go to jail if lies are repeatedly told. I can’t support this.”
- As evidenced in part by internal company documents, individual employees not only made misleading public statements to TOYOTA’s consumers, but also concealed from TOYOTA’s regulator one safety-related issue (a problem with accelerators getting stuck at partially depressed levels, referred to as “sticky pedal”) and minimized the scope of another (accelerators becoming entrapped at fully or near-fully depressed levels by improperly secured or incompatible floor mats, referred to as “floor mat entrapment”).
- Contrary to public statements that TOYOTA made in late 2009 saying it had “addressed” the “root cause” of unintended acceleration through a limited safety recall addressing floor mat entrapment, TOYOTA had actually conducted internal tests revealing that certain of its unrecalled vehicles bore design features rendering them just as susceptible to floor mat entrapment as some of the recalled vehicles. And only weeks before these statements were made, individuals within TOYOTA had taken steps to hide from its regulator another type of unintended acceleration in its vehicles, separate and apart from floor mat entrapment: the sticky pedal problem.
- As it had in 2007, TOYOTA initially resisted NHTSA’s recall suggestions. CQE-J prescribed and followed a negotiating position with NHTSA with respect to floor mat entrapment consisting of: (a) a refusal to declare a vehicle defect of any kind, and (b) an effort to narrow the class of vehicles that would be subject to the recall.