Lawmakers blistered the world’s largest automaker with accusations of greed and insensitivity
After an exchange of pleasantries that included praise from committee members for his willingness to step into a lion’s den, Toyota President and Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda, and Yoshimi Inaba, president and chief executive officer, Toyota Motor North America, drew heavy fire from both Democrats and Republicans for the company’s slowness in dealing with safety defects in its autos and trucks that led to deaths and eventually the massive recalls.
“I’m deeply sorry for any accident that Toyota drivers have experienced,” the grandson of the founder of the Japanese auto giant told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He suggested his company’s “priorities became confused” in a quest for growth over the past decade at the expense of safety concerns.
Toyoda told the panel he was “absolutely confident” there was no problem with the electronics of Toyota vehicles and repeated the company’s stance that sudden accelerations were caused by either a sticking gas pedal or a misplaced floor mat. Some outside experts have suggested electronics may be at the root of the problems.