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Toyota‘s president Akio Toyoda, under fire for his handling of sweeping recalls, will testify before a congressional hearing next week, appealing to U.S. lawmakers and aggrieved customers for understanding while the company fixes its safety problems.
Japanese officials praised the decision by Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder, to accept a formal invitation to explain the recalls and outline plans by the world’s largest automaker to ensure safety and satisfy worried car buyers.
“I will be happy to attend. I will speak with full sincerity,” Toyoda told reporters Friday in Nagoya, near where the company is headquartered.
“I am hoping our commitment to the United States and our customers will be understood,” said Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder.
Toyoda said he will cooperate with U.S. regulators looking into recalls of over 8 million vehicles worldwide, including top-selling models like the Corolla, the Camry and the Prius hybrid.
Earlier this week, he said he did not plan to attend the hearings unless invited. That decision drew heated criticism in the U.S. On Thursday, he agreed to a request to attend from the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Edolphus Towns, a Democrat from New York.
“It was not just up to me to decide,” Toyoda told reporters in televised remarks.