Toyota Motor Corp. accepted a $16.4 million fine from the government Monday, according to federal officials. It is the government's largest ever fine against an automaker.
The Transportation Department said Toyota knew about defective gas pedals in September, but failed to issue a recall until January.
Under federal law, automakers must tell the government within five working days when they find a potential safety defect.
The Transportation official said Toyota is expected to pay the full amount of the fine within 30 days to avoid a court battle against the government.
"When you look at the toll it's taken on Toyota's reputation, when you look at the number of vehicles involved, when you look at the hardship it's placed on Toyota's customer base, it's only right for Toyota to take this fine," said Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group based in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The automaker announced it would recall over 2 million vehicles in January to address the sticking pedals on vehicles such as the Camry and Corolla.
It has recalled more than 8 million cars worldwide due to acceleration problems in multiple models and braking issues in the Prius hybrid.
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