House Committee Sends Toyota's President Formal Invitation to Appear

(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota Motor Corporation, has said he would not attend a U.S. Congressional hearing regarding the recall of millions of vehicles over malfunctioning gas pedals, and that U.S. executives for the company would answer any questions or concerns.

However, the New York Times reported that after persistent questioning, "Mr. Toyoda said he 'would consider' appearing before Congress if he receives a formal invitation, which none of the committees have issued."

That invitation came today from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, according to a press release issued.

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the committee, formally invited Toyoda to attend a hearing titled "Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public At Risk?" scheduled to take place next Wednesday.

"There appears to be growing public confusion regarding which vehicles may be affected and how people should respond. In short, the public is unsure as to what exactly the problem is, whether it is safe to drive their cars, or what they should do about it," Towns wrote in his invitation to Toyoda.

The committee stated in the press release that the "hearing will examine the Federal government's response to the recall, and to gain a better understanding of the nature of the sudden acceleration problem in Toyota vehicles and what should be done about it."

Whether Toyoda will show remains unclear.

At a news conference yesterday, Toyoda 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.

At the same press conference, 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.

Sasaki did allude that the wave of recalls may not have passed. He said that Toyota was looking into possible power-steering problems with the Corolla subcompact, the world's best-selling car, and is considering a recall.