LaHood: Toyota making progress towards safety, second fine still possible

Akio Toyoda, Toyota President CEO - Ray LaHood, U.S. Transport Secretary

During his visit to Toyota Motor Corp. world headquarters today, U.S. Transport Secretary Ray LaHood said he was encouraged by the steps the company has put in place to improve vehicle safety; however, he said that he will only be fully convinced when its cars actually become safer.

“I believe that they have put in place some measures that will enable us at the Department of Transportation to have a better handle and a better form of information if they’re carried out,” LaHood said. “And what I told Mr. Toyoda today (is), these measures are important measures but I use the American colloquialism: the proof is in the pudding – time will tell.”

LaHood also warned that additional fines were possible as U.S. auto safety regulators worked through 500,000 pages of documents in efforts that could take at least a couple of months to complete.

Toyota has already agreed to pay a record $16.4 million fine by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on April 19 for failing to promptly report flaws in its vehicle accelerator pedals, which eventually led to a recall of more than 8 million vehicles.

We’re guessing Toyoda avoided offering LaHood a hot lap of the Fuji Speedway in a Lexus LF-A.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)