Toyota Motor Corp. submitted a report to the government Thursday outlining measures it will take to improve its quality control, defect monitoring and recall systems in response to a transport ministry mandate stemming from an accident involving a defective Toyota sport utility vehicle.
Japan’s top automaker said in the report that it will increase staff assigned to quality control, store records on defects for 20 years and improve monitoring of reports, Toyota officials said.
Even if the company deems a recall is unnecessary, the records on the consideration of it will be stored for 20 years and the vehicles in question will continue to be closely monitored, the officials said.
“We would again like to deeply apologize for troubling many people concerning the quality and safety of our products,” Toyota Vice President Masatami Takimoto said at a press conference after presenting the report to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
In a written instruction issued July 21, the ministry urged Toyota to improve its recall-related operations, saying the automaker has problems in its system of handling vehicle defects, including the lack of close in-house communications.
Police in Kumamoto sent papers last month to prosecutors on the chief of Toyota’s quality control department and his two predecessors, accusing them of professional negligence in not recalling Hilux Surf SUVs until an accident occurred in Kumamoto Prefecture in 2004 in which five people were injured.
In the accident, a Hilux Surf made in 1993 strayed into the opposite lane and collided head-on with a car after its relay rod fractured, causing a loss of steering control.
Police suspect Toyota knew in 1996 or earlier that the relay rod could crack.
Toyota modified the relay rods but did not recall vehicles already sold because no serious accident had occurred, police said.
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