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The following remarks were made March 30 by Toyota president Akio Toyoda following the inaugural meeting of the Special Committee for Global Quality:
“Thank you for taking the time to join us today. I also want to thank those of you who attended the quality-assurance demonstration. We were grateful for the large turnout and for the opportunity to show you how we are working to ensure quality.
“Today, we held the inaugural meeting of our Special Committee for Global Quality. Among the participants were the chief quality officers for the principal regions where we operate. Those officers are close to the customers in their regions. And we have brought them together to let them share with each other and with us what they are hearing from their customers. All of us on the Special Committee for Global Quality will work together in using our findings to regain consumer confidence.
“On that note, let me introduce the chief quality officers. Representing North America is Steve St. Angelo. Representing Europe is Didier Leroy. Representing China are Masahiro Kato, Tian Congming from our joint-venture partner First Automobile Works; Feng Xingya from our joint-venture partner Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group; and Godfrey Tsang, from Toyota Motor (China) Investment. Representing other Asian nations and Oceania are Mitsuhiro Sonoda, and Surapong Tinnangwatana and Vince S. Socco, from Toyota Motor Asia Pacific. Representing the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America is Hisayuki Inoue. And representing Japan is Katsutada Masumoto. Also with us is Shiniichi Sasaki, who chairs the committee.
“Joining the regional representatives were representatives of pertinent TMC divisions. The committee engaged in an open and frank exchange about how to pursue our common goal of raising quality from the customer standpoint. We all came away from the meeting with a heightened sense of solidarity in tackling that goal.
“We discussed several things: an especially important subject was the decision-making process for recalls and other safety matters. We agreed to build a framework to ensure that regional input receives full consideration in that process. The chief quality officers hear directly from customers in their regions, and so they will participate in recall and other safety matter decision-making at our global headquarters. That will be in connection with their work in providing timely input through the Special Committee for Global Quality about customer complaints, product defects and the progress of recalls and other safety measures in their regions. We are counting on the new framework to optimize our decision-making both regionally and globally.
“Today, you witnessed the opening minutes of the inaugural meeting of the committee, of which regional versions will also be set up. And we will enlist third-party experts locally to review the performance of those regional committees. Similarly, we will enlist four third-party experts to review the quality-improvement measures adopted by the Special Committee for Global Quality. We plan to release their initial findings this June.
“In closing, let me emphasize my overriding focus in launching the Special Committee for Global Quality. That focus is on listening carefully to the voice of the customer as the crucial key to regaining consumer confidence. In that spirit, we will be working closely with our dealers and with our suppliers to implement the measures adopted by the committee. We will be doing everything possible to regain consumer confidence. And I invite you to monitor our progress carefully. Thank you.”