OTTAWA – Toyota Canada officials admitted they should have notified the public and authorities sooner about complaints of sticky accelerator pedals in their vehicles.
And the Japanese carmaker’s head of North American operations Yoshi Inada extended apologies to Canadians for the problems.
Toyota executives were called on the carpet today by the Commons committee over handling of safety issues that have given the auto maker a black eye.
Under questioning, Toyota officials admitted they had begun discussions with their suppliers about the pedals before notifying Transport Canada or the public.
Inada said the reason Transport Canada was not told until mid-January was there were only a few complaints and the company did not know what the problem was.
Another official, Stephen Beatty, managing director for Toyota Canada, said the law requires the automaker to report defects not complaints.
He said Toyota reported the problem as soon as it has identified that there was a defect.
The Canadian recall of about 270,000 vehicles to fix the accelerator problem occurred Jan 21.
Millions of Toyotas and Lexus brands were recalled in the United States and elsewhere.
The officials adamantly denied that there is any evidence the problem rested with the electronic accelerator system.
Toyota Canada president Yoichi Tomihara also apologized and insisted that despite the recalls, Toyota’s vehicles are safe and the company is working to minimize the possibility of problems cropping up in the future.