The fine is a result of delays in Toyota telling government officials about problems with a sticky gas pedal. But the agreement is worded in a way that will allow Toyota to avoid admitting that it knowingly hid the defect from regulators.
Toyota recalled about 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. as a result of the issue. As recent as Friday, the company said it is recalling 600,000 Sienna minivans due to possible corrosion in the spare-tire-carrier cable.
This is the largest civil penalty ever issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration."By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in the release. "I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly. We are continuing to investigate whether the company has lived up to all its disclosure obligations." The automobile maker will have 30 days to pay the fine. Shares of Toyota are slipping 0.5% to $78.98 in morning trading. -- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.