Toyoda grilled by Congress

The president of Toyota faced tough
questioning from US politicians investigating the firm’s handling of safety
problems.

Akio Toyoda apologised for the
recall of 8.5 million vehicles for accidents which occurred.

But under questioning, he insisted
no faults had been discovered with the electronics of any of its vehicles.

Mr Toyoda has pledged to give his
“full cooperation” to the US government investigation.

Earlier Congressional committee
chairman Edolphus Towns said Toyota and regulators had “failed their
customers” on safety.

And Transportation Secretary Ray
LaHood told the hearing that all vehicles which had been recalled were
“not safe”.

But he added that Mr Toyoda’s
scheduled appearance showed that world’s biggest car maker was no longer
“safety deaf” to complaints and concerns.

The reputation of Toyota has been
severely damaged by a string of major problems across a range of vehicles.

The main issues have been faulty
accelerator pedals, accelerator pedals getting stuck in floor mats, and a
problem with braking systems on its hybrid models.

Under questioning from the House
Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Mr Toyoda said the company had
shared with US authorities all the information it had about unintended acceleration
problems.

In remarks which he read to the
House, Mr Toyoda admitted that the firm’s expansion “may have been too
quick”.

The grandson of the company’s
founder said in his pre-prepared remarks that he took a personal responsibility
for improving the quality of Toyota cars.

“All the Toyota vehicles bear
my name. For me, when the cars are damaged, it is as though I am as well. I,
more than anyone, wish for Toyota’s cars to be safe, and for our customers to
feel safe when they use our vehicles.”

WORLDToyodatestimonySTORY

Toyota Motor Corporation President and CEO Akio Toyoda speaks as Yoshimi Inaba (R) president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. looks on while testifying on Toyota’s car safety before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday.

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