Toyota president Akio Toyoda said on Feb. 9 he accepts "personal responsibility" for the automaker's recalls and safety woes and vowed to rebuild confidence in the company.
Toyoda, the family scion named a year ago to steer the Japanese automaker, also said the company would set up a new team of engineers in the United States to improve quality control and safety.
"I have launched a top-to-bottom review of our global operations to ensure that problems of this magnitude do not happen again and that we not only meet but exceed the high safety standards that have defined our long history," Toyoda said in an opinion piece appearing in the Washington Post.
"As part of this, we will establish an Automotive Center of Quality Excellence in the United States, where a team of our top engineers will focus on strengthening our quality management and quality control across North America."
The comments appeared as Toyota announced it was recalling 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles globally to repair a flaw in the braking system, the latest in a series of recalls affecting millions of vehicles worldwide.
"I am deeply disappointed by (the recalls) and apologize," he said. "As the president of Toyota, I take personal responsibility. That is why I am personally leading the effort to restore trust in our word and in our product."
He wrote that the company in its 70-year history "has always put the needs of our customers first" and that Toyota "has not lived up to the high standards we set for ourselves" with the recent recalls.
"We are taking responsibility for our mistakes, learning from them and acting immediately to address the concerns of consumers and independent government regulators," Toyoda said.
"You have my commitment that Toyota will once again revitalize the simple but powerful principle that has guided us for 50 years: Toyota will build the highest-quality, safest and most reliable automobiles in the world."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010
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