— A Toyota emissions settlement for $180 million has been reached between the automaker, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for emissions violations of the Clean Air Act.
Prosecutors and regulators allege Toyota ignored emissions laws for 10 years by failing to report recalls and defects related to the emissions systems.
The $180 million penalty is the largest civil penalty for violations of federal emissions-reporting requirements.
According to regulators at the EPA, Toyota spent 10 years failing to report mandatory information about potential defects, allegedly "keeping the agency in the dark and evading oversight.”
Toyota allegedly routinely failed to file an estimated 300 reports related to the federal Clean Air Act, while certain documents were eventually filed eight years late. And court documents allege millions of Toyota vehicles were involved from at least 2005 to 2015.
Toyota and EPA representatives met in 2002 regarding emissions defects and how information was received from dealerships. Based on warranty claims, the government told Toyota things were moving too slowly, causing Toyota to revise emissions processes. But regulators say Toyota stopped following its new procedures in 2005.
Toyota allegedly didn't listen to staff who knew of the troubles for 10 years regarding mandatory reports that were filed late and at least another 30 reports that weren't filed at all.
Managers and staff in Japan allegedly knew about the problems with procedures but ignored the clear language of federal regulations. U.S. regulators say they were "deprived" of timely information about emissions defects which existed in vehicles on the roads.
Toyota says it agrees to follow mandatory reporting practices concerning emissions defects and to improve training and communications.
According to the settlement, Toyota admits it made mistakes and accepts responsibility for its actions, but a court must still give final approval of the settlement and consent decree.