While Toyota chief Akio Toyoda did his best to withstand over three hours of non-stop questioning in front of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform yesterday, he didn’t fare as well when he spoke in front of Toyota employees only a short while later.
Toyoda, the grandfather of the car giant’s founder, broke into tears as he spoke before an audience of Toyota dealers and employees at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“At the hearing, I was not alone. My colleagues in North America and around the world, were there with me,” he said to the supportive crowd.
Toyoda’s extended testimony before the Committee featured several breakdowns in communication between the House members — many of whom had to leave the room at various points to vote on different measures — and Toyoda. Some on the Committee, including Rep. John Mica of Florida and Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C., seemed to have little patience in either waiting for their questions to be translated to Mr. Toyoda or for his responses to be restated by his translator.
Speaking to the Toyota employees afterward, Toyoda confessed that things could have gone better.
“I believe Toyota has always worked for the benefit of the United States, and tried to convey that from the bottom of my heart,” he explained. “I am not confident that the message was really broadly understood.”