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Toyota popularity reflected by panel

  |   Feb. 23, 2010 at 2:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Being Toyota drivers didn't stop members of a U.S. congressional panel probing Toyota Motor Corp.'s safety record from criticizing the carmaker Tuesday.

In opening statements, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., was the first to admit he drove a Toyota.

Waxman said Toyota never "took a serous look at the possibility that an electronic defect" was the root cause of sudden acceleration in some vehicles. But he also said, "I'm a great admirer of Toyota ... I've driven one pleasurably and safely for years."

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said, "like millions of Americans, I drive a Toyota -- a Camry hybrid that has, thus far, not been recalled."

Markey said he bought a Toyota for "it's stellar reputation for safe, reliable and fuel efficient vehicles."

Co-Vice Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Diana DeGette, D-Colo., admitted, "I have three Toyotas and I have two daughters."

"My 1988 Camry is the car that I brought my 20-year old daughter home from the hospital in, and it's the car she drives now," DeGette said.

Donna Christensen, D-Virgin Islands, said several family members owned Toyotas and her search for a Prius ended with her buying a "cute, little Solara convertible."

However, "now, I'm wary as I drive it," she said.

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