The president of Toyota apologized Wednesday for the safety defects that led to a massive recall.

"My name is on every car. You have my personal commitment that Toyota will work vigorously and unceasingly to restore the trust of our customers," said Akio Toyoda, who admitted an emphasis on sales over safety.

Millions of vehicles are on a recall list because of sticking gas pedals and jamming floor mats.

Toyoda said computer glitches aren't causing unexplained acceleration but that to be sure, he's ordered a brake override on new Toyotas to be sure they can stop even if the engine is racing.

The Channel Four I-Team investigation into sudden acceleration also became part of Wednesday's hearings. Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper used the I-Team's investigation in questioning the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Following the I-Team's investigation that first aired in 2007, Cooper began asking why it took Toyota and NHTSA so long to respond to cases of sudden acceleration that the investigation revealed.

Cooper brought up the I-Team's investigation because in front of him was Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, who, as of last year, overseas NHTSA, which investigated some of the crashes mentioned in the I-Team's investigation and dismissed the drivers' concerns.

"Like all bureaucracy, they didn't do the job they should have," Cooper said.

Lahood responded by saying the 2007 Tacoma was ultimately recalled for floor mat entrapment and also said there are more cases of Tacoma problems than the 20 the I-Team originally found.

"We have identified 33 other relevant complaints and we are, as I indicated, those model years are under recall," Lahood said.

Cooper also asked Lahood to reassure him that all models of Toyotas are being investigated. He wanted to question Toyota's president but said he felt his questions were asked by his fellow congressmen.

Copyright 2010 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the News4 I-Team's Chief Investigative Reporter. He has won multiple Midsouth Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards.

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