Toyota Chief Apologizes Before House Committee

Toyota's president is telling a congressional hearing there is no problem with the electronics of Toyota vehicles despite suggestions from some safety experts that there is a connection to unwanted acceleration.

Akio Toyoda told the House oversight committee that he is "absolutely confident" that the electronics of Toyota's gas pedal systems are not the source of problems with a number of Toyota vehicles speeding out of control.

Toyota has recalled some 8 million vehicles over problems with gas pedals lodging on floor mats and pedals that can get stuck. The company has said it has not found evidence that electronics are a factor.

Still, Toyoda said the company is installing brake pedals that can override the gas pedal in case of unintended acceleration.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda raised his right hand and promised to tell the truth. Then, speaking in English, he apologized to Congress — and millions of American Toyota owners — for safety lapses that led to deaths and widespread recalls for accelerator and braking failures.

"I'm deeply sorry for any accident that Toyota drivers have experienced," said the grandson of the founder of the world's largest automaker.

Amid a phalanx of cameras, Toyoda, dressed in a dark suit, walked into the committee room briskly.

House committee chairman Edolphus Towns welcomed Toyoda and thanked him for volunteering to testify.

"We're very impressed with that. It shows your commitment to safety as well," Towns said.

Toyoda pledged his company would change the way it handles consumer complaints, including seeking greater input from drivers and outside safety experts when considering recalls. Toyota managers will also drive cars under investigation to experience potential problems first hand, he said.

He suggested his company's "priorities became confused" in its quest for growth over the past decade at the expense of safety concerns.

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