Toyota president Akio Toyoda said on Feb. 5 he was "deeply sorry" for the recall of millions of cars around the world due to faulty accelerator pedals, but insisted the company's vehicles were safe.
In his first press conference on the crisis, Toyoda admitted that the company faced "a moment of crisis" but pledged that "the safety of customers is vital."
Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder, said he was "deeply sorry about the inconvenience to customers due to recalls across multiple regions". "Believe me, Toyota cars are safe," he said, briefly switching from Japanese to English. "Please believe, customer-first is our priority."
He said Toyota had set up an internal investigative committee to study the problems, which have led the U.S. government and Congress to step up pressure on the Japanese company.
"As for the accelerator recalls in the U.S., Europe and China, repair work preparations are being made at our dealers," Toyoda said. "As soon as these preparations are completed, we will inform you."
The under-fire president added that Toyota is studying how to handle the brake trouble with its Prius hybrid, following hundreds of complaints from drivers over a slight delay in the brake system.
"For the Prius cars that are in the hands of customers already, I have instructed that a solution be found as quickly as possible," he said. "Once the decision is made, we will inform the public."