Today in Tokyo, Toyota president Akio Toyoda met with shareholders for the first time since the world’s largest automaker began issuing recalls on millions of its vehicles last October. And fittingly enough, the grandson of the company’s founder kicked things off humbly.
“I apologize deeply for the concerns we have caused,” he said. “We believe our most important task is to regain customers’ trust.”
While much of the initial heat surrounding the recalls has begun to subside, Toyota still faces numerous lawsuits in the U.S. for everything from insurance claims to stockholders upset at the drop in the company’s stock price.
According to reporters who watched via TV monitor in a separate room, while the proceedings were generally civil, some unhappy shareholders shouted out their complaints.
Meanwhile, one Toyota VP announced that recall-related costs for the fiscal year ended March totaled $4 billion.
Mr. Toyoda told the shareholders that, for the second year in a row, directors on the board will forgo any bonus payments.
“Our company is about doing the right thing in the right way,” he said about the company’s need to focus on growing the right way. “And I like to think we are the kind of company that cares about people’s feelings.”
Toyota President Apologizes to Shareholders [NY Times]