Toyota boss to appear before US Congress

Toyota’s global president has caved in to mounting pressure and announced he will testify to US politicians next week about the carmaker’s global recall of its Prius hybrid cars.

Akio Toyoda said last night he was looking “forward to speaking directly with Congress and the American people”. He had previously refused to travel to Washington. He is now due to appear before a congressional committee on Wednesday.

He apparently changed his mind after the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee formally called on him to make a personal appearance. The Japanese carmaker has been heavily criticised in the US for being too slow in implementing the recall.

Toyota is recalling 8.5m vehicles worldwide, including six million in the US.

It has been hit by three faults – faulty accelerator pedals, accelerator pedals getting stuck in floor mats and a problem with the brakes on its flagship Prius hybrid model.

Democrat representative Edolphus Towns said he wanted Toyoda to “clarify” how the recall is working.

Toyota will also shut down its UK factory for two weeks next month, leaving 3,500 workers idle.