News / USA

Toyota CEO Apologizes for Safety Lapses

Multimedia

Michael Bowman

Akio Toyoda entered a packed congressional hearing room to deliver a simple message:

"I am deeply sorry for any accidents that Toyota drivers have experienced," said Akio Toyoda.

The Toyota CEO acknowledged that the public's confidence in the company that bears his family name has been shaken, and said he takes "full responsibility" for the problems that have emerged. Toyoda said the phenomenon of sudden acceleration in some Toyota vehicles has been identified and corrected, and that the corporation remains fully committed to safety.

He also offered a hypothesis as to how problems arose for the world's top carmaker, saying the company's priorities, as he put it, "became confused" in the midst of vigorous sales growth in the United States and elsewhere.

"Toyota has, for the past few years, been expanding its business rapidly," he said. "Quite frankly, I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick."

Later, Toyoda responded to questions from U.S. representatives as to how Toyota executives in Japan learned of safety issues and how they responded to them. In 2007, Toyota initially blamed sudden acceleration on floor mats. The company later faulted sticky gas pedals. A current theory holds that the problem arises from an electrical malfunction in computer-controlled acceleration devices.

The CEO was also pressed on measures the company is taking to fix recalled vehicles, and compensation that will be provided to crash victims and their families.

Earlier in the day, the congressional committee heard from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who oversees the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Several representatives accused the agency, which is tasked with ensuring automobile safety in the United States, of being slow to act on complaints regarding Toyota vehicles.

Democratic Congressman Edolphus Towns is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

"The way these complaints were handled indicates problems at both NHTSA and Toyota," said Edolphus Towns. "There is a serious question of whether NHTSA used all of its regulatory tools to thoroughly investigate this issue."

LaHood defended NHTSA, calling it the most effective automotive investigative agency in the world.

"Over just the last three years, NHTSA's defect and compliance investigations have resulted in 524 recalls involving 23 million vehicles," said Ray LaHood. "We have not been sitting around on our hands. When people complain, we investigate."

LaHood said that NHTSA continues to gather documentation from Toyota about problems with runaway cars and the company's responses to it.

Wednesday, Toyota reached an agreement with the state of New York to pick up recalled vehicles and provide drivers free rental cars during repairs. At the congressional hearing, the head of Toyota's North American operations, Yoshimi Inaba, said the program would be extended nationwide.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid