Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda has agreed to an appearance in front of the US Congress next week after being invited by one Congressman Ed Towns.
The President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation will address the American public regarding his company's most publicised crisis in recent years. The 53 year-old Akio Toyoda came into his current position during mid-2009. He has been invited by Congressman Ed Towns, D-N.Y, to testify at a congressional committee next week.
"I have received Congressman Towns' invitation to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on February 24 and I accept," Toyoda said in an e-mail statement. "I look forward to speaking directly with Congress and the American people."
Toyoda's response is in contrast to his earlier statements that Toyota North America chief Yoshimi Inaba and his staff would handle any US hearings. He indicated that he would support them from behind the scenes. He was quoted as saying: "I trust that our officials in the U.S. will amply answer the questions. We are sending the best people to the hearing, and I hope to back up the efforts from headquarters...We are not covering up anything, and we are not running away from anything."
The about-turn is welcome and should boost both investor and public confidence which have been waning since the recall problems concerning sticky accelerator pedals and Prius brakes first came to light.
"Now that I have received an official request from the chairman [Towns]," said Toyoda, "I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity. I'd like to cooperate fully and try to explain our situation. The No. 1 thing in my mind is regaining the trust of our customers in terms of the safety of our vehicles."