The Justice Department has reached a $1 billion agreement with Toyota to resolve concerns over how the company responded to consumer complaints about rapid acceleration in some models five years ago, federal officials confirmed to NBC News Tuesday.
The deal is set to be announced as early as Wednesday in Washington by Attorney General Eric Holder, provided the final details are worked out, said officials familiar with the outlines of the agreement.
Toyota would agree to pay just over a billion dollars and, in return for certain commitments by the company, the Justice Department would defer prosecution.
Such agreements are common in cases like this: The company essentially agrees to conform its behavior to the settlement terms. And if it continues to do so, the government will not prosecute.
The Justice Department and the FBI were investigating whether Toyota initially misled federal safety regulators after the problems were first noticed in 2009.
While not confirming any settlement, Toyota issued this statement tonight:
"Toyota has cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's office in this matter for more than four years. During that time, we have made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements."
— Jon Dienst, Phil LeBeau, and Pete Williams
First published March 18 2014, 7:22 PM