Toyota's Toyoda Gets Formal Invite To Appear Before Congress

In the weeks since it was announced that the U.S. Congress would be holding hearings on the current massive recall of Toyotas, the car giant’s president, Akio Toyoda, had been saying “Thanks, but no thanks,” to the idea of appearing before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. And then yesterday, he softened a bit, saying he would consider attending the hearing if given a formal invitation. Well, Mr. Toyoda… Ask and ye shall receive.

Congressman Edolphus Towns of New York, Chairman of the above-mentioned committee, has extended an invite to Toyoda to come on down and give his side of the story in person on Feb. 24.

We could summarize it, but here is the letter from Towns to Toyoda in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Toyoda:

As you know, there is widespread public concern regarding reports of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota motor vehicles. Toyota has recalled millions of its vehicles and even halted production. In addition, there are reports that this problem may have been the direct cause of serious injury and even death.

There appears to be growing public confusion regarding which vehicles may be affected and how people should respond. In short, the public is unsure as to what exactly the problem is, whether it is safe to drive their cars, or what they should do about it.

To help clarify this situation, I am inviting you to testify at a hearing of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday, February 24, 2010, at 10 a.m. in room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

You may submit written testimony for the record, of any reasonable length. In addition to your written testimony, you should be prepared to provide a five minute opening statement and answer questions posed by Members of the Committee.

Information for witnesses appearing before the Committee is contained in the enclosed Witness Information Sheet. In particular, please note the procedures for submitting written testimony at least two business days prior to the hearing.

We ask that you please contact the Committee by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 19, 2009, to confirm your attendance. Should you have any questions, please contact the Committee staff at 202-225-5051.

Sincerely,
Edolphus Towns

How do you think Toyoda will respond, now that the gauntlet has officially been thrown down? Will the new reports of a possible recall of 2009-2010 Corollas play a part in his decision to appear before Congress?