In a settlement filed with a federal court in California yesterday, Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) has agreed to pay about $1.1 billion to bring an end to a case that came to light in early 2010. The damage to Toyota’s reputation for building quality cars took a brutal beating, which the company’s president did little to ease.
The company is expected to offer either payment or safety upgrades to owners of some 16 million cars. The problem with the cars came either from poorly fitted floor mats or a sticky accelerator pedal. Some owners charged that some vehicles also accelerated on their own, but a U.S. government investigation concluded that the accidents blamed on unintended acceleration were mostly due to driver error, not to the car’s electronic throttle control system
Toyota already has paid out about $2 billion in recalls, investigations and lost sales related to the accelerator issues. The company’s sales bounced back in 2012, however, up nearly 30% year-over-year. Toyota is also on track to regain its position as the world’s largest car maker based on sales.