Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform confronted Toyota’s CEO and President on Wednesday amidst a crowd of cameras and staffers. Japanese native Akio Toyoda was flanked by Toyota’s North America chief Yoshimi Inaba and his translator as he delivered a prepared statement in English.
Toyoda expressed regret and took “full responsibility” for the accidents caused by the malfunctioning cars. His statement expressed the dedication of the company to improving their quality standards and “pledged greater transparency with federal regulators and internal reforms.”
“I have personally placed the highest priority on improving quality over quantity,” Mr. Toyoda said, “and I have shared that direction with our stakeholders.”
This pledge was reiterated throughout the hearing as Congressmen seemed wary of the CEO’s testimony and whether or not the problems were truly fixed.
Representative Elijah E. Cummings asked Mr. Toyoda, “Why should we believe that things are going to get better?”
Committee members also grilled Toyoda as to when the accelerator crisis was brought to his attention. Mr. Toyoda insisted the company “did not hide” the issue and laid out the corporation’s plan to prevent other malfunctions.
Congressmen periodically diverted attention toward US domestic politics regarding tort reform and President Obama. The arguments, however, were lost in translation. Mr. Toyoda refused to comment on the issues.