Toyota president bows and apologizes

Feb. 5, 2010 at 11:53 AM
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TOKYO, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The president of Toyota Motors Co. bowed at a news conference Friday and apologized for quality control problems that had led to massive Toyota recalls.

"I deeply regret that I have caused concern among so many people. We will do our utmost to regain the trust of our customers," said Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder, who was handed the reins of the company last year.

Sticking gas pedal problems triggered a recall of 4.2 million vehicles. Congress has scheduled hearings on the issue, on the heels of a problem with brakes in 2010 hybrid Prius models involving 300,000 more cars.

Japan's transport minister, Seiji Maehara, said the defective vehicles "leads me to believe Toyota has not put consumers first," The New York Times reported.

Toyoda said the company is "committed to safety." The company is likely to lose $2 billion on the massive recalls, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

In the United States, dealerships reported they had begun repairing gas pedals with a 30-minute procedure.

Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, said it would upgrade software for hybrid Fusion cars that use the same regenerative braking system as the Prius.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reports of Prius brakes hesitating after hitting bumps or potholes.

In the Fusion, "customers may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes," Ford said in a statement. The cars, however "maintain full braking capability," Ford said.

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