TOKYO Feb 24 Below is the full text of Toyota
Motor Corp (7203.T) President Akio Toyoda's prepared testimony to
the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform, to be delivered on Wednesday.
Thank you Chairman Towns.
I am Akio Toyoda of Toyota Motor Corporation. I would first
like to state that I love cars as much as anyone, and I love
Toyota as much as anyone. I take the utmost pleasure in offering
vehicles that our customers love, and I know that Toyota's
200,000 team members, dealers, and suppliers across America feel
the same way. However, in the past few months, our customers
have started to feel uncertain about the safety of Toyota's
vehicles, and I take full responsibility for that. Today, I would
like to explain to the American people, as well as our customers
in the U.S. and around the world, how seriously Toyota takes the
quality and safety of its vehicles. I would like to express my
appreciation to Chairman Towns and Ranking Member Issa, as well as
the members of the House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee, for giving me this opportunity to express my thoughts
I would like to focus my comments on three topics -- Toyota's
basic philosophy regarding quality control, the cause of the
recalls, and how we will manage quality control going forward.
First, I want to discuss the philosophy of Toyota's quality
control. I myself, as well as Toyota, am not perfect. At times,
we do find defects. But in such situations, we always stop,
strive to understand the problem, and make changes to improve
further. In the name of the company, its long-standing tradition
and pride, we never run away from our problems or pretend we don't
notice them. By making continuous improvements, we aim to
continue offering even better products for society. That is the
core value we have kept closest to our hearts since the founding
days of the company.
At Toyota, we believe the key to making quality products is
to develop quality people. Each employee thinks about what he or
she should do, continuously making improvements, and by doing so,
makes even better cars. We have been actively engaged in
developing people who share and can execute on this core value.
It has been over 50 years since we began selling in this great
country, and over 25 years since we started production here. And
in the process, we have been able to share this core value with
the 200,000 people at Toyota operations, dealers, and suppliers
in this country. That is what I am most proud of.
Second, I would like to discuss what caused the recall issues
we are facing now. Toyota has, for the past few years, been
expanding its business rapidly. Quite frankly, I fear the pace at
which we have grown may have been too quick. I would like to
point out here that Toyota's priority has traditionally been the
following: First; Safety, Second; Quality, and Third; Volume.
These priorities became confused, and we were not able to stop,
think, and make improvements as much as we were able to before,
and our basic stance to listen to customers' voices to make
better products has weakened somewhat. We pursued growth over the
speed at which we were able to develop our people and our
organization, and we should sincerely be mindful of that. I
regret that this has resulted in the safety issues described in
the recalls we face today, and I am deeply sorry for any
accidents that Toyota drivers have experienced.
Especially, I would like to extend my condolences to the
members of the Saylor family, for the accident in San Diego. I
would like to send my prayers again, and I will do everything in
my power to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.
Since last June, when I first took office, I have personally
placed the highest priority on improving quality over quantity,
and I have shared that direction with our stakeholders. As you
well know, I am the grandson of the founder, and all the Toyota
vehicles bear my name. For me, when the cars are damaged, it is
as though I am as well. I, more than anyone, wish for Toyota's
cars to be safe, and for our customers to feel safe when they use
our vehicles. Under my leadership, I would like to reaffirm our
values of placing safety and quality the highest on our list
of priorities, which we have held to firmly from the time we were
founded. I will also strive to devise a system in which we can
surely execute what we value.
Third, I would like to discuss how we plan to manage quality
control as we go forward. Up to now, any decisions on conducting
recalls have been made by the Customer Quality Engineering
Division at Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan. This division
confirms whether there are technical problems and makes a
decision on the necessity of a recall. However, reflecting on the
issues today, what we lacked was the customers' perspective.
To make improvements on this, we will make the following
changes to the recall decision-making process. When recall
decisions are made, a step will be added in the process to ensure
that management will make a responsible decision from the
perspective of "customer safety first." To do that, we will
devise a system in which customers' voices around the world will
reach our management in a timely manner, and also a system in
which each region will be able to make decisions as necessary.
Further, we will form a quality advisory group composed of
respected outside experts from North America and around the world
to ensure that we do not make a misguided decision. Finally, we
will invest heavily in quality in the U.S., through the
establishment of an Automotive Center of Quality Excellence, the
introduction of a new position. Product Safety Executive, and the
sharing of more information and responsibility within the
company for product quality decisions, including defects and
Even more importantly, I will ensure that members of the
management team actually drive the cars, and that they check for
themselves where the problem lies as well as its severity. I
myself am a trained test driver. As a professional, I am able to
check on problems in a car, and can understand how severe the
safety concern is in a car. I drove the vehicles in the
accelerator pedal recall as well as the Prius, comparing the
vehicles before and after the remedy in various environmental
settings. I believe that only by examining the problems on-site,
can one make decisions from the customer perspective. One cannot
rely on reports or data in a meeting room.
Through the measures I have just discussed, and with whatever
results we obtain from the investigations we are conducting in
cooperation with NHTSA, I intend to further improve on the
quality of Toyota vehicles and fulfill our principle of putting
the customer first.
My name is on every car. You have my personal commitment that
Toyota will work vigorously and unceasingly to restore the trust
of our customers.