Toyota Boss Akio Toyoda Feels Your Pain

As his company continues to circle the drain, Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda wants everyone to know that it’s not just Toyota drivers that are getting hurt, it’s a little bit of him too.

“When cars are damaged, it is as though I am as well,” Toyoda writes in a piece written for the Wall Street Journal. “I love cars, and I take the utmost pleasure in offering vehicles that our customers love.”

Toyoda also waxes nostalgiac for the good ol’ days. “When my grandfather brought Toyota into the auto business in 1937, he created a set of principles that has always guided how we operate,” he writes. “We call it the Toyota Way, and its pillars are ‘respect for people’ and ‘continuous improvement.’”

Funny, because the House Committee on Energy & Commerce seems to be saying the Toyota Way is ‘ignorance of the problem’ and ‘continued defects.’

To that end, Toyoda does issue a slight mea culpa.

“It is clear to me that in recent years we didn’t listen as carefully as we should — or respond as quickly as we must — to our customers’ concerns,” the big boss says. “While we investigated malfunctions in good faith, we focused too narrowly on technical issues without taking full account of how our customers use our vehicles.”

Let’s see if he has anything else to say when he appears before the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform tomorrow.

Back to Basics for Toyota [WSJ]