Page last updated at 23:12 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Toyota boss to go before US Congress over recall

Akio Toyoda
Mr Toyoda had previously said he wished to stay in Japan

Toyota's global president has said he will testify to US politicians next week about the carmaker's giant global recall programme.

Akio Toyoda said he was looking "forward to speaking directly with Congress and the American people".

He had previously indicated he would not travel to Washington, instead wishing to lead the recall from Japan.

Mr Toyoda is now due to appear before a congressional committee on Wednesday of next week.

Call for clarification

His apparent change of heart came after the chairman of the committee in question - the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee - formally called Mr Toyoda to go before it.

September 2007, US: 55,000 Camry and Lexus cars in floormat recall
October 2009, US: 3.8m Toyota and Lexus vehicles recalled due to floormat problem
November 2009, US: floormat recall increased to 4.2m vehicles
January 2010, US: 2.3m Toyota vehicles recalled due to accelerator pedal problems (of those, 2.1m already involved in floormat recall)
January 2010, US: 1.1m Toyotas in floormat recall
February 2010, Europe: 1.8m Toyota's in pedal recall
February 2010, Japan, US: 200 reports of brake faults in new Prius. Cars recalled
February 2010, worldwide: 436,000 hybrid vehicles in brake recall. Also, 7,300 Camry vehicles recalled in the US over potential brake tube problems
February 2010, US: 8,000 Tacoma pick-up trucks recalled over concerns about defective shafts

Democrat Representative Edolphus Towns said he wanted Mr Toyoda to "clarify" how the recall is working.

"The public is unsure as to what exactly the problem is, whether it is safe to drive their cars, or what they should do about it," said Mr Towns, in an open letter.

Toyota is continuing to recall 8.5 million vehicles worldwide, including six million in the US.

It has been hit by three main faults - faulty accelerator pedals, accelerator pedals getting stuck in floor mats, and a problem with the braking system on its Prius hybrid model.

Too slow?

Toyota has been criticised in the US for being too slow in both starting and implementing the recalls.

The matter is being investigated by the US car safety watchdog, which earlier this week ordered Toyota to hand over documents relating to its mass vehicle recalls, to see if the firm reacted quickly enough.

Toyota has denied any cover-up, and said it would "co-operate to provide all the information" requested by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On Wednesday, the carmaker took out full-page adverts in major Japanese newspapers to apologise for the recent recalls.

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