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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to call Toyota president

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he will personally call the president of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, to stress safety issues.

By Dave CookStaff writer / February 3, 2010



Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he will personally call the president of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, to stress the seriousness of the safety issues that have triggered two major recalls of Toyota vehicles. Some cars have speeded up unexpectedly.

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Speaking at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast with reporters, Secretary LaHood said, “I am going to take the initiative to have a conversation with Mr. Toyoda very soon to talk to him about how serious this is and to make sure he understands – I think he understands – but I have never talked to him. I just feel like I need to have a conversation with him, and I am going to do that ... soon, soon.”

When reporters asked whether Toyota’s behavior in the recall process showed they “get it” in terms of the seriousness of the situation, LaHood responded, “They are pretty close to getting it. And the reason I am going to talk to Mr. Toyoda [is] because I think after I talk to him, I think they will get it. This is serious.”

At the session with reporters, Transportation Department officials distributed a three-page timeline of DOT efforts to deal with Toyota on the accidents attributed to unintended acceleration.

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