This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
The United States Congress has been dealing with the safety problems at Toyota. In March, a Senate committee examined the recent safety recalls and the government's response.
The House of Representatives held two days of hearings this week. Lawmakers questioned Akio Toyoda, the head of the company since June. He said he was deeply sorry for any accident that Toyota drivers have experienced.
Defects have been linked to at least thirty-nine deaths over the past several years. Toyota has recalled more than eight million vehicles worldwide because of the risk of gaining speed suddenly and uncontrollably.
Toyota is Japan's biggest company. In two thousand eight it passed General Motors as the world's biggest carmaker. Akio Toyoda said his company paid too much attention to growth and not enough to safety.
He said Toyota may have been expanding its business too quickly.
The grandson of the company's founder rejected the possibility that the acceleration problem is related to the electronic controls in his vehicles. The company has blamed problems with the accelerator pedal and badly positioned floor mats.
But lawmakers released a company document showing Toyota had saved one hundred million dollars by negotiating a limited recall over the issue. The document added to criticisms that federal officials did not act aggressively enough against Toyota. But others say Toyota is being treated unfairly because the government now owns sixty percent of General Motors.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was questioned and dismissed that idea. He praised the agency that deals with auto industry recalls, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA.
He said over just the last three years, NHTSA's investigations have resulted in five hundred twenty-four recalls involving twenty-three million vehicles.
Rhonda Smith of Tennessee described how in two thousand six her Toyota-made Lexus sped up for a time to one hundred sixty kilometers an hour.
NHTSA blamed a floor mat, but she blames the electronics and says Toyota dismissed her concerns.
Ray LaHood says his department will investigate the electronics used by Toyota and other automakers. And Akio Toyoda promised a new level of openness and speed in dealing with safety issues.
And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report.