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Akio Toyoda, the chief executive officer of Japanese auto giant Toyota, says he sure is sorry his company rushed cars into production with safety defects that kill and maim people.
Turns out it was all about getting bigger and richer but not better.
“We pursued growth over the speed at which we were able to develop our people and our organization,” Toyoda will tell a Congressional Committee today. “I regret that this has resulted in the safety issues described in the recalls we face today, and I am deeply sorry for any accidents that Toyota drivers have experienced.”
Apologies won’t cut it with Congress but Toyoda’s admission of guilt will be a rare sight on Capitol Hill where hearings usually showcase buck-passing and blame games.
Toyota has recalled 8.5 million cars and halted production of problem-prone models. At least 37 people have died in 29 accidents attributed to sticking accelerators.
Toyota’s U.S. president, James Lentz, hasn’t helped the situation by claiming “we are confident that no problems exist with the electronic throttle-control system in our vehicles” but then acknowledging “it has taken too long to come to grips with a rare but serious set of safety issues.”
Lentz also claimed Toyota fixed the problem then admitted in Congressional testimony that he was “not totally certain” the fix would work.