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Congressional Subpoena Proposed for Toyota Head

Feb 12, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Some in the U.S. Congress are hoping to hear from the head of Toyota Motor Corp. when he comes to the U.S. next month.  But Toyota is not saying if  Akio Toyoda - grandson of the company's founder - would attend any congressional hearings during his visit.

According to Reuters, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government committee, has invited Toyoda to testify at hearings scheduled for February 24 and 25th, as March 2nd. Issa also offered to schedule another session if Toyoda was unable to attend any of those hearings. Issa has also written a letter to the committee’s chairman saying he supports using issuing a subpoena if necessary to compel testimony from Toyoda.

Toyoda has already apologized twice for the company’s recent safety failures and recalls, and promised to strengthen quality control efforts at Toyota. Now Reuters is reporting that Toyoda is making arrangements to come to the U.S. in early March. During the visit, Toyoda plans to meet U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and major lawmakers and will also hold a news conference as part of his trip, Reuters said.  The company, however, would not comment on calls for Toyoda to testify before Congress.

Over the past several months, Toyota has recalled millions cars – including its popular Prius Hybrid – for problems involving sudden acceleration and faulty brakes.   The recalls have dealt a serious blow to Toyota's long-standing reputation for quality and reliability.

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