Toyota mulls Corolla recall after steering problems
Tokyo, February 17, 2010
Japanese carmaker Toyota is considering a recall of its popular Corolla car after complaints about power steering problems, report said.
The news is further blow to the world's largest automaker already reeling from a string of recalls for safety problems.
Toyota was taking seriously the complaints about power-steering problems in the Corolla, the world's best-selling car, Toyota executive in charge of quality controls, Shinichi Sasaki, was quoted as saying in the AP report.
Sasaki said drivers may feel as though they were losing control over the steering, but it was unclear why. He mentioned problems with the braking system or tyres as possible underlying causes of the steering problem.
Sasaki said it was still uncertain if a Corolla recall would be necessary but the automaker is considering one. The number of affected vehicles is unclear, he said.
Meanwhile, Toyota said it would install a system to ensure braking trumps acceleration for all new car models
But in a statement unlikely to appease US lawmakers, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said he believed North America chief Yoshimi Inaba was the logical choice to testify at the US congressional hearings scheduled for later this month.
"I have full confidence in the management of Toyota Motor North America, led by Mr Inaba, and I believe he is the best placed to testify," Toyoda told a news conference in Tokyo.
US Rep Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government committee, has said he would support a subpoena to force Toyoda's appearance to explain their handling of the series of recalls totalling more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide for problems with braking and unintended acceleration.
Toyoda said he planned to visit the United States at some point but that the best timing needed to be worked out. He would consider whether to testity "when and if" there was a request, he added.
"I will focus on internal reform to improve quality and support Inaba from our headquarters," Toyoda said.
Toyoda's news conference follows the automaker's announcement that would halt US production further to match slowing sales and as US regulators opened an investigation into whether it had acted in a timely fashion on the recalls.
The issue has dealt a devastating blow to Toyota's reputation built on quality, safety and reliability, not long ago the envy of the auto industry.
Toyoda said the world's biggest automaker may have grown too fast, neglecting adequate training of staff to ensure quality did not trail behind.
"The basic rule of the Toyota Production System is to only build as many cars as there is demand for, and we ourselves broke that rule," " he told his third news conference in two weeks.