Toyota Motor Corp. is reportedly close to paying a $1 billion fine to settle a four-year federal criminal investigation into whether it properly reported safety complaints to regulators.
Toyota’s lawyers also are in settlement talks over hundreds of civil lawsuits alleging wrongful deaths or injuries, potentially adding hundreds of millions to the tab.
Previously, Toyota agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle a class-action case brought by thousands of Toyota owners who asserted sudden-acceleration problems damaged the value of their vehicles.
Toyota appeared ready for a protracted legal battle to fight hundreds of legal claims to the contrary.
But now, Toyota appears ready to pay what it takes to move the story off front pages and newscasts.
“Toyota is trying to put this entire episode behind it,” said John Goldberg, a Harvard law professor and product liability expert.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Toyota in settlement talks with the U.S. attorney’s office in New York and said a deal could come within weeks.