The government is investigating whether Toyota delayed a 2005 recall in the U.S. over defective steering rods in trucks and SUVs, despite issuing a similar recall in Japan nearly a year earlier.
The Transportation Department said Monday it was conducting a new review into the gap between the Japanese and U.S. recalls. Automakers must notify the government of a safety defect within five business days of learning of the problem.
Toyota claimed initially after the 2004 Japanese recall that it had little evidence of a U.S. problem. But an investigation by The Associated Press has found the automaker had received at least 52 reports from U.S. drivers.
The automaker could face another fine of up to $16.4 million.