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Company pres. says Toyota grew too fast

Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales, introduces the Toyota .FT-CH Hybrid Electric concept car at the 2010 North American International Auto Show at the COBO Center in Detroit, MI., January 11, 2010. UPI Photo/Mark Cowan
Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales, introduces the Toyota .FT-CH Hybrid Electric concept car at the 2010 North American International Auto Show at the COBO Center in Detroit, MI., January 11, 2010. UPI Photo/Mark Cowan | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda said the company's rapid expansion in recent years led to a lapse in quality control and safety concerns.

"We pursued growth over the speed at which we were able to develop our people and our organization. I regret that this has resulted in the safety issues described in the recalls we face today," Toyoda said in remarks prepared for a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, where he is expected to testify Wednesday, CNNMoney.com reported.

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Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. President James Lentz said in a statement prepared for his testimony that he was confident Toyota had identified the problem causing sudden acceleration in some cars.

Lentz specifically said Toyota was "confident that no problems exist with the electronic throttle control system in our vehicles."

The statement contradicts a letter made public Monday in which committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak, D-Mich., asserted that Toyota had been dismissive about the point that acceleration problems were far more common in cars with electronic throttle systems than in cars with manual systems, The New York Times reported.

Lentz's statement also says Toyota was slow to "come to grips with a rare but serious set of safety issues."

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