Toyota chief apologizes for recall in China

08:32, March 02, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The president of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, apologized Monday to customers in China, the fast-growing major market that has become increasingly important as world automakers struggle with weak global sales.

The number of Toyota vehicles recalled in China makes up only a small percentage of the 8.5 million pulled worldwide since October for sticky acceleration pedals, faulty floor mats and glitches in braking software.

But auto sales in China have become increasingly critical for automakers as sales lag in traditional markets. Last year, China overtook the United States as the biggest auto market, with a 48 percent jump in sales, and automakers are looking to it to offset weak global demand and drive future growth.

"The Chinese market is very important, so I flew here in person in the hope my personal expression of an apology and explanation will give customers some relief," Toyoda told news conference in Beijing Monday.

His appearance was his second abroad after last week's visit to Washington, where he was grilled by angry US lawmakers. He said he flew to China directly from the United States to show his sincerity.

Toyoda said China was important to his company and reiterated earlier statements that, with his family name on the product, he is personally responsible for safety.

The president said that in response to the crisis, Toyota would create a global quality committee with a chief quality officer from each region.

"The incident had caused an impact and worries to Chinese consumers," Toyoda said. "I hereby express my sincere apologies for these worries."

In China, the company announced a recall of 75,552 RAV-4 sport utility vehicles in late January because of the gas pedal problem.

Toyota's February sales by its two local joint ventures with state-owned partners were up from a year earlier. Sales for its venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group climbed 50 percent to 17,500 units. Sales at its FAW Group venture jumped 106 percent to 40,400 units.

Sales growth lagged other foreign brands in 2009 because of Toyota's focus on bigger cars while Chinese government promoted smaller vehicles with tax breaks and subsidies. Toyota sales rose 50 percent, compared with 76 percent for Wolkswagon cars.

Toyota is preparing to release a lower-cost brand for China in response to demand for smaller cars, according to analysts.

People's Daily Online / Agencies
  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Blast kills 2 students in SW Pakistan university
  • "Handsome" vagabond wins cult following
  • Chile extends curfew to maintain order
  • Rescuers pull out 79 survivors from collapsed building in Chile
  • Chilean president raises quake death toll to 795
  • Andrea Bocelli stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion