Amid the worsening recall crisis Toyota Motor Corp., President Akio Toyoda apologized for the recall of millions of vehicles around the world, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported. A brief clip on NHK showed Toyoda at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying that he is "extremely sorry to have made customers uneasy."
He said that the company plans to get the facts and then provide an explanation to address customers' concerns as soon as possible. The recalls threaten to further damage Toyota's sales and delay an earnings recovery.
Since the recall was first announced, it's only now that he has made a statement on the issue of unintended acceleration that started in North America and has spread to Europe and China this week.
So far, the global recalls of Toyota cars and pickups total to about 7.5 million vehicles, which makes it nearly as many as what it sold worldwide in 2009. This figure includes repairs for an issue involving floor mats becoming stuck under accelerator pedals.
Toyota cars in Japan, Australia and Asia did not use the defective pedal. Toyota has not issued a recall a Japan, where different suppliers are used. There has been a clamor for Toyota to talk to the media about the worsening ordeal.
Toyota has said that it continues to study how to comment or how to act on the matter. A source told Reuters that a news conference is set for early next week, before Toyota announces its third-quarter financial results on Feb. 4.
However, the source said that the company has yet to finalize its plan. It is unknown if Toyoda, or another executive, would hold the briefing. The last time that Toyoda, a family scion who took up his post last June, commented publicly on the matter was in October, when he expressed regret for the deaths of four people in a California crash linked to the defects last year.