Panel opens hearing on Toyota safety issues - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Panel opens hearing on Toyota safety issues



















WASHINGTON. - A hearing into Toyota's safety issues has opened with some critical remarks by chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's investigative panel.
     
Rep. Bart Stupak accused the Japanese automaker of misleading the American public about the cause of sudden acceleration problems. The Michigan Democrat says Toyota eliminated electronics as a possible cause before it had fully analyzed the problem.
     
Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton cautioned his colleagues against conducting a "witch hunt."
     
In prepared remarks, the president of Toyota's U.S. operations apologized for the company's handling of safety issues. But James Lentz also insisted that electronic problems did not contribute to sudden acceleration of its cars.

Toyota dealers: Government treating us unfairly

Toyota dealers are complaining that the besieged automaker is being treated unfairly by the U.S. government. Some say it's because the government has invested billions in two competitors, General Motors and Chrysler.
     
More than 150 Toyota dealers are in Washington to lobby lawmakers on behalf of Toyota, which has recalled more than 8 million vehicles due to safety concerns. At a Tuesday morning news conference, some complained the government is picking on Toyota, even though there have been dozens of recalls of other automakers' vehicles in the past year.
     
Paul Atkinson, a Houston-area Toyota dealer, got loud applause from other dealers at the event when he said, "How did we suddenly overnight become the villain? I don't get it."

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