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Toyota to Pay Fine Without Taking Blame

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to pay a $16.4 million fine for delaying a safety recall but held back on admitting it had done anything wrong.

Toyota said Monday it agreed to the fine imposed by the Department of Transportation "to avoid a protracted dispute and possible litigation."

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, "I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly," The Detroit News reported.

Toyota had been in discussions with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials since Wednesday to find acceptable wording for a statement that allowed the company to sidestep directly admitting guilt, the newspaper said.

The fine -- the largest government penalty ever imposed on an automaker -- was levied for an alleged four-month delay in recalling vehicles that had accelerator control problems.

Toyota announced a massive recall Jan. 21 for sticking gas pedals.

The company also faces 200 civil lawsuits over the gas pedal problem and investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department and the state of New York.

The company also faces the possibility of further fines, depending on the outcome of an investigation into its November recall of 5.4 million vehicles to fix defective pedals.

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