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18 December 2012

Toyota just got fined $17.35 m over floor mats

The auto-industry's top five biggest little mistakes.

By New Statesman

Toyota has just sustained a whopping fine for not recalling a faulty product in time – these products being floor mats. The company has agreed to pay $17.35 m to the US government over concerns that a loose mat could press down on the accelerator pedal – involving the recall of 154,036 vehicles from 2010.

It’s not the only car manufacturer to spoil the ship for a ha’porth of floor mat: here are four more of the auto-industry’s biggest mistakes, via Investopedia:

1. The Ford failed safety catch of 1980

A little safety defect in Ford’s transmission system meant that cars built between 1976 and 1980 could slip wilfully from “Park” to “Reverse”. The resulting 6,000 accidents, 1,700 injuries and 98 deaths meant the recall of 21m vehicles and the loss of $1.7 bn.

2. The Takata seatbelt button of 1995.

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The company had to recall 8.3 million vehicles after the button on the seatbelt was found prone to jam. By this time most auto-manufacturers were using these seatbelts, causing 931 consumer complaints as drivers got stuck in their seats. Estimated cost: $1 bn.

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3. The Ford cruise control switch of 1996

There’s a little electronic switch which deactivates cruise control after the  brakes are put on. This was faulty in Ford vehicles – starting fires. The company had to recall 14 million vehicles, costing them $280 m.

4. The Ford ignition ignition of 1996

1988-1993 models of Ford cars had switches which short-circuited, leading to fires, sometimes even when the car was turned off. The bill came to $200 m.