TODAY   |  March 19, 2014

Toyota agrees to $1.2 billion settlement

The carmaker agreed to a settlement with the Justice Department over complaints about sudden acceleration. It will save the world’s largest automaker from criminal prosecution. NBC’s justice correspondent Pete Williams reports.

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>>> right now, a major deal between toyota and the federal government . the world's largest car maker agreeing to a $1 billion settlement. that's tied to the sudden acceleration of some of its cars five years ago. nbc's justice correspondent pete williams has the latest on that. hi, pete.

>> good morning. the settlement to be announced as early as this morning by the justice department is intended to resolve the government's concerns about how toyota responded to customer complaints that its cars would suddenly and unpredictably accelerate. toyota has recalled more than 11 million toyota and lexus cars. several issues were suspected, including floor mats that caused the gas pedal to stick. the company has faced a raft of lawsuits brought by car owners and their families. some claiming the problem caused death and injuries. during the past several months, the company has been settling some of them, and toyota has paid a record recall fine. the company was slow to report the problem. the fbi was also investigating. now officials say toyota has agreed to pay the federal government just over $1 billion, $1.2 billion. these officials say in return for making commitments about future behavior, the justice department will agree not to bring criminal charges against toyota , matt.

>> all right. pete williams , thank you very much.