UPDATE 1-Toyota Motor pays $16.4 million U.S. safety fine

Tue May 18, 2010 12:20pm EDT

* Toyota previously agreed to pay fine

* Second U.S. investigation of Toyota recall ongoing

WASHINGTON May 18 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) has paid a $16.4 million fine to settle allegations by U.S. regulators the company was too slow to recall vehicles with defective accelerator pedals.

The civil penalty payment, the maximum allowed under auto safety regulations, came two days before Toyota's U.S. sales chief, Jim Lentz, was expected to appear before a congressional committee investigating Toyota recalls.

In paying the fine as expected, Toyota did not admit wrongdoing regarding the 2010 recall stemming from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation of pedals that would not spring back as designed.

Safety regulators are also investigating whether Toyota delayed a 2009 recall of all-weather floor mats that could jam the gas pedal.

That investigation is expected to run through the summer and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last week would not rule out the possibility of another fine.

The "sticky pedal" and floor mat recalls involving millions of vehicles globally are at the heart of Toyota's worst safety crisis over unintended acceleration. (Reporting by John Crawley; editing by Andre Grenon)

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