NHTSA wants to know if Toyota moved fast enough on recalls, could fine up to $16.4 million

The NHTSA is broadening the scope of its investigation into Toyota Motor Corp., as they demand paperwork from Toyota so that they may investigate whether the three recalls were done in a timely manner, and whether all necessary vehicles have been recalled. Under federal law, a company has five days from determining that a safety defect exists and they must promptly conduct a recall. The NHTSA has issued a 53 page letter to Toyota seeking thousands of records, and gave them until March 18 to respond.

The NHTSA has a reputation for not asserting their authority on automakers, and has demonstrated with Toyota that that will no longer be the case.

“Our top priority is safety, and we expect that all manufacturers address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner,” said David Strickland, administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Among the records requisitioned by the NHTSA will be those pertaining to; production data, incidents, complaints, warranty complaints, tests conducted, dates of meetings, timelines, and supplier information. They have also indicated that they want the names and phone numbers of all customers who have been paid for a warranty claim.

As the NHTSA has the authority to seek civil penalties, Toyota faces up to $16.4 million in penalties should the agency determine that Toyota was in violation of its statutory obligations.

By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Detroit News