Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, has made a formal public apology for the accelerator pedal fault which has caused the manufacturer to recall millions of models worldwide.
In a further blow to the manufacturer, it is expected to recall 300,000 Prius models (3,500 in the UK) after it was found that the braking system could fail on icy or bumpy road surfaces.
Toyoda's statement in full:
“I, Akio Toyoda, deeply regret the inconvenience and concern caused to our customers and others by our recent recalls of multiple vehicle models across multiple regions.
“Today, as so many people have expressed their sense of unease, I realised the necessity of asking you all here on short notice to share with you the following.
“As Toyota revealed yesterday, new Prius now in showrooms include an improvement. For Prius in the hands of customers, I have instructed that consideration be made as soon as possible regarding the way to address such units. Once a decision is made we will inform the public.
“As for the accelerator-pedal recall in the United States, Europe, China and other countries and regions, repair-work preparations are being made at our dealers. As soon as these preparations are complete, once again, we will inform you.
“From Toyota’s beginning, “contributing to society through the manufacture of automobiles” has been its key principle. To that end, since taking office in June last year, I have endeavoured, based on our “customer first” and “genchi genbutsu” fundamentals, to thoroughly establish a product-focused management.
“However, we, the ones supposed to relay to people the attractiveness of automobiles, have, instead, imparted on them worry. I regret this more than anything.
“Under the banner, “Let’s build better cars”, we will go back to the basics of “customer first” and “genchi genbutsu”, and once more, deeply consider what “customer first” really means. All our employees around the world, all of our dealers and all of our suppliers will unify in their utmost efforts to regain the trust of our customers as soon as possible.”
Toyota has now created a global quality special task force that will work on improving manufacturing practice across its factories.
The new quality committee will be headed by Toyoda and will first focus on verifying the causes that led to the recalls “inspecting every process – quality in design, quality in production, quality in sales and quality in service”.