In what some are calling a slap on the wrist, Toyota faces a record civil penalty of $16.4 million, less than 2% of Toyota's projected net profit for the year ending March 31, related to a January recall of 2.3 million U.S. autos for accelerator pedals that allegedly stick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday stated that in assigning the fine, which is the largest it can presently levy against the Japanese automaker, Toyota failed to act in a timely manner after knowing of the problem since at least September 2009.

To date, Toyota has recalled more than 6 million vehicles in the United States, and more than 8 million worldwide because of acceleration problems in multiple models, and braking issues in the Prius hybrid.

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