The head of Japanese carmaker Toyota has stepped to centre stage in a US congressional investigation into accidents involving at least five deaths in America.
Akio Toyoda, who knew he could expect a tough grilling, immediately apologised to customers and pledged a series of reforms.
“I love cars as much as anyone. However, in the past few months, our customers have started to feel uncertain about the safety of Toyota’s vehicles and I take full responsibility for that,” said Akio Toyoda.
Toyoda’s appearance before the panel marks the dramatic peak of a safety crisis that broke a month ago with a series of recalls that now includes more than 8.6 million vehicles globally.
Engineers at the company still cannot explain most of the incidents of unintended acceleration in Toyota cars.