U.S. will hold Toyota to assurances on safety: LaHood

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – The Obama administration will hold Toyota President Akio Toyoda to his word that the carmaker is working hard to address all safety issues, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on Tuesday.

In an oral statement prepared for delivery to the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Toyota Motor Corp’s big recalls, LaHood said regulators would continue to investigate “all possible causes” of unintended acceleration.

LaHood said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes Toyota’s recalls of more than 6 million U.S. vehicles in 2009 and this year to address loose floor mats that can jam the accelerator, and accelerator pedals that do not spring back as designed, are important steps.

But he said “we don’t maintain that they answer every question” about the issue, and a review of whether vehicle electronic systems may play a role are ongoing.

LaHood said he recently spoke with Toyoda and received the executive’s assurance that Toyota takes U.S. safety concerns seriously and is working hard to address all safety issues.

“I intend to hold him to that,” LaHood said.

Toyoda will testify on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Energy and Commerce Committee staff released letters to LaHood and Toyota U.S. sales chief Jim Lentz on Monday harshly critical of how the company and regulators have handled consumer complaints of unintended acceleration over the years.

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(Reporting by John Crawley; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

U.S. will hold Toyota to assurances on safety: LaHood