Toyota Chief Won't Testify in Washington

Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda, speaks to reporters after meeting with Japan's Transport Minister Seiji Maehara at he ministry in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010.
AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
Updated at 4:00 a.m. Eastern.

Toyota's president says he won't attend a U.S. Congressional hearing on the automaker's safety lapses.

Toyota's U.S. executives will answer lawmakers' questions on the massive gas pedal recalls, Akio Toyoda said Wednesday.

The Toyota Motor Corp. president said he wants to focus on beefing up quality controls at the world's No. 1 automaker.

He promised a brake-override system in all future models worldwide that will add a safety measure against acceleration problems that are behind the recent massive recalls.

The system is a mechanism that overrides the accelerator if the gas and brake pedals are pressed at the same time.

Toyota's quality control executive said at the same news conference that the automaker is currently looking into possible power-steering problems with the Corolla subcompact, the world's best-selling car, and is considering a recall.

Shinichi Sasaki, who oversees quality at Toyota Motor Corp., said details of what may be wrong and the number of cars that could need repairs were still unclear.

He said the automaker is considering a recall, but no decision has been made as the company was still looking into the complaints in the U.S., which are fewer than 100.

On Tuesday, the Transportation Department formally demanded documents related to Toyota's massive recalls in the United States to find out if the automaker conducted three of its recalls in a timely manner.

The legal documents - delivered to Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday and obtained by The Associated Press - demand that the company tell the government when and how Toyota learned of the safety defects in millions of vehicles.

Investigators are looking into whether Toyota discovered the problems during pre-production or post-production of the affected vehicles.