Toyota Motor said on Friday Chairman Akio Toyoda is planning a US trip early next month but would not confirm whether he would attend Congressional hearings probing the auto-maker’s safety recalls.
US Representative Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight committee, has said he would support a subpoena to try and force Toyoda to testify before a Congressional committee.
Toyota has recalled more than 8.5 million vehicles globally for faulty brakes and accelerator-related problems. Its profits have suffered, its share price plummeted and its reputation for quality tarnished.
Toyota spokeswoman Mieko Iwasaki said in Tokyo the company was making arrangements for Toyoda to visit the US in early March, but declined to comment on whether he would attend Congressional hearings.
Issa invited Toyoda to testify and suggested another hearing could be held if the top executive could not make the February 24 session. Hearings are also planned for February 25 and March 2.
Japan’s Asahi newspaper reported on Friday that Toyoda plans to meet US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and major lawmakers.
Meanwhile, competitors have said they are not going to take advantage from the crisis faced by Toyota.
"Toyota's problems are not good for the industry,” General Motors’ North American president Mark Reuss said. “The industry perspective on the Toyota recall is that no one likes to see another competitor being put through that."
"We have a lot of compassion for what Toyota is going through. We do not take a lot of joy in it," Ford president of the Americas Mark Fields added.