The settlement, which isn't final, may be announced as early as today, said the people, who asked not to be named because the accord isn't public. The probe examined whether Toyota made false or incomplete disclosures to regulators about defects in its cars, and how it handled drivers' complaints, said a third person, who also asked not to be identified.
In addition to the criminal probe by the
The settlement comes as
Toyota recalled more than 10 million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010 following complaints of sudden, unintended acceleration. The company made modifications to gas pedals and floor mats that were prone to shifting around and jamming the accelerator. Toyota also installed brake override software on recalled models and began making the systems standard on new vehicles.
Jerika Richardson, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to comment on the settlement. Kelly Langmesser, a spokeswoman for the FBI in New York, declined to comment on it.
"Toyota has cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's office in this matter for more than four years," Steve Curtis, a Toyota spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. "During that time, we have made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements."
Curtis declined to comment on a possible settlement.
Toyota fell 1.4 percent to 5,470 yen at the midday break in Tokyo trading, compared with the 0.4 percent decline by the benchmark Topix Index. The stock has lost 15 percent this year.
The settlement was reported earlier by CNN.
Toyota last year agreed to try to resolve the personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that were brought in the wake of the recalls.
In a March 17 status report filed in federal court in Santa Ana, California, Toyota and lawyers representing the plaintiffs said they had reached agreements in principle to settle 131 cases. The carmaker is trying to settle more than 300 cases, according to the filing.
Terms of the settlements weren't disclosed.
The recalls damaged the quality reputation that spurred Toyota's rise to become the world's largest automaker, a title that it relinquished for one year to GM, the largest U.S. automaker, after Japan's earthquake and tsunami, along with floods in Thailand, disrupted its 2011 vehicle production.
Toyota has regained the global sales crown the past two years and returned to rank at or near the top of automotive quality ratings. Consumer Reports this month recommended 11 of the company’s cars in its picks for the best used vehicles from the last 10 model years, almost double the tally for
J.D. Power & Associates said last year that while GM outperformed Toyota in its annual Initial Quality Study for the first time, the Japanese carmaker's namesake brand and Lexus luxury division both finished among the industry's top seven brands.