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The Obama administration said Thursday it is fining Honda $70 million — the largest civil penalty levied against an automaker — for not reporting to regulators some 1,729 complaints that its vehicles caused deaths and injuries, and for not reporting warranty claims.
The Japanese automaker acknowledged in November that it failed to report the death and injury complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over an 11-year period beginning in 2003. The company admitted it learned of the omissions in 2011 but had waited three years to take action.
Honda also failed to report certain warranty claims and claims under customer satisfaction campaigns throughout the same period, federal officials said. The safety administration is imposing twin fines: $35 million for not reporting the death and injury complaints, and another $35 million for not reporting the warranty and customer satisfaction claims. Both fines are the maximum the agency is legally allowed to impose.
The Honda complaints include incidents related to air bags made by Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp., as well as other defective parts. Honda has agreed to pay the fines under a consent order it signed with the traffic safety administration on Dec. 29, federal officials said. But officials said they have not yet received all the complaints from Honda and therefore don't have a tally of how many deaths and injuries are involved.
"We have resolved this matter and will move forward to build on the important actions Honda has already taken to address our past shortcomings in early warning reporting," Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America Inc., said in a statement.
-- The Associated Press