It hasn’t been an easy year for Toyota Motor Co., but the maker’s CEO and founding family heir Akio Toyota says he’s confident the worst is over and the rebuilding process begun.
During his first visit to the annual Detroit Auto Show, Toyoda made an onstage appearance helping introduce a new line-up of hybrids that will share the popular Prius brand name. The executive then met with a small group of reporters to discuss the company’s problems and plans, notably including efforts to rebuild its once-sterling image – which has been tattered by a series of safety-related recalls.
“Toyota did receive damage,” Toyota bluntly acknowledged, though he was equally quick to insist that despite ongoing concerns – and a series of lawsuits – the company’s products “are safe.”
“The past year was extra trying,” he said through a translator, though he also insisted that the company did better than might have been expected on a sales front.