Toyota finalizes multi-state settlement over safety crisis

DETROIT Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:25pm EST

The Toyota logo is seen at a dealership in Ruemlang, outside Zurich October 10, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

The Toyota logo is seen at a dealership in Ruemlang, outside Zurich October 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Buholzer

DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp will pay $29 million as part of a multi-state settlement agreement finalized on Thursday over the Japanese automaker's failure to quickly notify drivers of defects that wound up triggering the biggest automotive safety crisis in history.

The payment, to be doled out to attorney generals of 29 states and one U.S. territory, is related to the $1.1 billion Toyota agreed to pay in December to compensate consumers who lost value on their cars due to sudden, unintended acceleration.

As part of Thursday's deal, Toyota will also continue its rapid-response centers and quality field offices in the United States to reimburse Toyota drivers affected by its recalls for the cost of rental cars and public transportation.

The move is another step by Toyota to move past its safety crisis, which began in 2009 and forced the company to recall about 16 million Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles sold in the United States from 1998 to 2010.

(Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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