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Toyota Officials Didn’t Understand Depth of Crisis, Says LaHood

Secretary of Transportation visits Toyota CEO Toyoda

by on May.10, 2010

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood brings a harsh message to Toyota City.

It took a personal visit from America’s top transportation official to finally get Toyota executives to understand the depth of their problems, Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, said during a visit to Toyota City, on Monday.

Referring to a meeting with the Japanese maker’s CEO, last February – a month after the second Toyota recall for sudden acceleration problems, Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda, “understood maybe for the first time that Toyota was facing some very, very serious credibility problems in the United States,” LaHood said.

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On the positive side, CEO Toyoda “has listened and he has paid attention,” LaHood added.

That was something the 54-year-old executive, grandson of Toyota’s founder, tried to emphasize during his own comments, insisting, “Toyota will fully cooperate with NHTSA in working toward a common goal of creating a safe automobile society.”