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Toyota‘s president apologized Friday for the automaker’s global recalls and promised to beef up quality control by setting up a special committee he would head himself. Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda said the automaker is still deciding what to do to fix brake problems with the popular Prius gas-electric hybrid.

Toyoda, grandson of Toyota’s founder, spoke at a hastily called news conference in Nagoya, Japan, late Friday, which was shown at Toyota’s Tokyo office by satellite feed.

 The automaker has acknowledged the new Prius that went on sale in May last year has braking problems. Toyoda did not announce a recall, but Toyota said this week it was considering one.

 Criticism had been growing that Toyoda has largely been invisible during the automaker’s worst crisis since it was founded.

 He appeared in a brief impromptu interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK, when approached as he was leaving a hotel in Switzerland last week. He said he was sorry for the worries he had caused customers and insisted that Toyota cars were safe.

 Toyota officials have been bombarded with questions from reporters about Toyoda’s whereabouts.

 Toyota said this week it is considering a recall in the U.S. and Japan for its Prius gas-electric hybrid, which has reportedly had braking problems.

 Nearly 200 complaints have been reported in the U.S. and Japan. Toyota said on Thursday it was a momentary problem with the antilock brake system on uneven road surfaces.

 The problems with the Prius, Toyota’s flagship model, follow a global recall announced Jan. 21 for 4.5 million vehicles with gas pedal problems; the pedals can stick and cause sudden acceleration.

 Via: USA Today

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