Tags: Toyota | problems | pedal | recall

Toyota Chief Apologizes for Pedal Problems

Friday, 05 Feb 2010 10:50 AM

NAGOYA, JAPAN — The president of Toyota apologized at a hastily arranged news conference Friday night for the quality problems that led to the recall of more than nine million cars worldwide.

Service technicians with a 2010 Toyota Prius in El Monte, Calif., on Thursday. Longo Toyota, the company’s largest dealership in the U.S., is keeping its service department open 24 hours a day to meet demand from customers after recent safety concerns.

He also pledged that the Japanese automaker would soon announce steps to address brake problems on the 2010 Prius.

Akio Toyoda, grandson of Toyota’s founder, spoke in his first formal remarks since the uproar enveloping his company, the world’s largest automaker, and took personal responsibility for the problems.

“I deeply regret that I caused concern among so many people,” Mr. Toyoda said. “We will do our utmost to regain the trust of our customers.”

Asked whether Toyota had underestimated the situation, Mr. Toyoda said, “I believe what is happening now is a very big problem. We are in a crisis.”

Mr. Toyoda also apologized to shareholders for the fall in the company’s share price. The company’s stock has dropped about 20 percent in the last two weeks.

Mr. Toyoda said a committee would be set up to look at quality issues. With his comments, he became the second successive Toyota president to apologize for defects on the company’s cars — and the second to assemble a committee to address them.

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