Read as much as you want on BostonGlobe.com, anywhere and anytime, for just 99¢.

US fines Toyota a record $17.4 million

Toyota agreed to pay the fine but did not admit violating the law.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Toyota agreed to pay the fine but did not admit violating the law.

DETROIT — The US government has slapped Toyota Motor Corp. with a record $17.4 million fine for failing to quickly report problems to federal regulators and for delaying a safety recall.

The fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the maximum allowed by law. It’s the fourth fine levied against Toyota in the past two years for similar infractions, and it’s the largest single fine ever assessed against a car company over safety defects. In 2010, Toyota paid a total of $48.8 million in fines for three violations.

Continue reading below

The latest infraction raises questions about whether the fines are big enough to deter automakers that withhold information from NHTSA, and whether the government agency can do enough to stop repeat offenses. The fine, announced Tuesday, is a tiny fraction of Toyota’s earnings. The company, which this year regained its position as the world’s biggest automaker, posted a $3.2 billion profit in the third quarter alone.

Toyota said it agreed to pay the penalty without admitting any violation of the law. It also pledged to strengthen data collection and evaluation to make sure it takes action more quickly.

The latest fine stems from a June recall of SUVs from Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand. About 154,000 of the 2010 Lexus Rx 350s and RX 450h models were recalled because the driver’s-side floor mats can trap the gas pedal.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com