Toyota's future still uncertain

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Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda appeared before U.S. Congress on Wednesday to apologize about the defects in his company's vehicles that have led to the recall of millions of cars, and to explain what the company will do in the future to prevent problems from becoming crises.

Despite Toyoda's apologies, however, his company is far from out of trouble, and some members of congress seemed dissatisfied with the explanations given by the automaker's president for his company's actions over the last few months.

At issue are a fault in some Toyota vehicles that causes the brakes to respond too slowly in certain conditions, and a different defect in other models that lead the accelerator to jam.

Growing pains

"I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick, " Toyoda said. "I regret that this has resulted in the safety issues described in the recalls we face today, and I am deeply sorry for any accidents that Toyota drivers have experienced."

Despite the apology, however, The Christian Science Monitor sees Toyoda's remarks as symptomatic of outage, which has already seen excessive expansion lead to devastating consequences in the financial sector, which two years ago was the trigger for the credit crisis and global economic downturn.

"Whether it is sticky accelerators or risky loans, business leaders need to focus on more than just profits," the editorial wrote.

The Philadelphia Inquirer said "it will take more than talk to restore consumer confidence in their cars."

To this end, Toyota is running massive advertising campaigns in an effort to win back public trust, but the jury is out on whether this will work. Due to the blanket media coverage the recall has received, the financial consequences of the recall will likely come out in sales figures over the next few months, while the damage to Toyota's reputation for producing high-quality, safe cars, is likely to be irreparable.

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