• Kyodo News

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Sumito Ishii, the new president of General Motors Asia Pacific (Japan) Ltd., said Wednesday he sees the recent spate of massive recalls plaguing Toyota Motor Corp. as a cue for his company to do better.

“Taking this case as a reference, we also need to brace ourselves up,” Ishii, who was appointed in January as chief of the Japanese unit of General Motors Co., said at a news conference.

Ishii said Toyota’s woes can’t be dismissed as somebody else’s problem.

Noting that 2009 was a tough year for GM as well as its Japan unit, Ishii vowed his company will continue to keep its loyal customers with its popular Camaro cars and lure new customers.

GM has announced incentive offers for Toyota owners who switch to GM cars. Ishii also stressed the quality of GM products and the automaker’s shift from its image of being too distant to being customer-friendly.

In the past, GM “became so big that it could not see the faces of its customers,” he said, referring to General Motors Corp.’s filing for bankruptcy protection last year and being overtaken by Toyota as the world’s largest automaker.

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