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Auto blogSun, 16 Jan 2011 12:49:00 EST
More than any other, two carmaking giants sit at the top of the industry: Toyota and General Motors. But while GM sells under a (shrinking but still) expansive range of brands, the Toyota Motor Corporation sells most of its vehicles under its own name. That doesn't mean that Toyota, however, doesn't have its own portfolio of subsidiaries. Here in the United States we have the youth-oriented Scion division, while Lexus handles its upscale offerings, and overseas there's Daihatsu.
The budget brand offers a range of small cars under its own name; most are hatchbacks, but there's also the Copen roadster and even a rebadged Camry called the Altis. You may have come across some of their offerings while traveling overseas, particularly in Europe, but that last part is about to come to an end, according to reports.
Word from across the pond is that Toyota plans to withdraw Daihatsu from the European market altogether. The move would reportedly take effect in 2013, and if it comes to pass, would follow similar withdrawals from the North American (1992) and Australian (2006) markets. Thanks for the tip, William!
UPDATE: Just like that, Toyota has released an official statement confirming its $1.2-million dollar settlement with the US Attorney's Office. Our story has been updated to reflect this development and the automaker's official statement has been added below.
Toyota has reached a settlement over the criminal probe into its unintended acceleration problems, and the outcome is more expensive than first expected. The Japanese automaker has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to close the investigation among other settlement terms. The criminal inquiry focused on whether the company kept information from regulators and how it handled drivers' complaints about the problems, according to the sources.
Between 2009 and 2010, Toyota ended up recalling over 10 million vehicles worldwide over sudden acceleration fears. Fixes include modifying floor mats, gas pedals, and installing brake override software on affected models. In addition, Toyota made the latter standard on all of its new vehicles.
Nine Japanese suppliers have pleaded guilty in US court over charges of price fixing in the automotive parts industry, resulting in the Department of Justice doling out a total of $740 million of fines, according to a report from Bloomberg. The scandal, which has resulted in General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Chrysler spending up to $5 billion on inflated parts and driving up prices on 25 million vehicles has sent the DoJ hustling into investigations. "The conduct this investigation uncovered involved more than a dozen separate conspiracies aimed at the U.S. economy," Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured above) said during yesterday's press conference.
As the investigation stands, the DoJ has issued $1.6 billion in fines against 20 companies and 21 individual executives, with 17 of the execs headed to prison. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Hammond said, "The breadth of the conspiracies brought to light today are as egregious as they are pervasive. They involve more than a dozen separate conspiracies operating independently but all sharing in common that they targeted US automotive manufacturers."
Big-name suppliers indicted in the investigation include Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Hitachi Automotive and Mitsuba Corporation. A list of fines and other corporations named in the investigation is available at Bloomberg.