'Humbled' Toyota Prez: We're Going Back to Basics Akio Toyoda promises to make company a safety leader again By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Feb 23, 2010 4:42 AM CST 4 comments Comments Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda reacts during a news conference at a Toyota office in Nagoya, central Japan earlier this month. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye) (Newser) – Toyota's president brushes up on his apologizing skills ahead of tomorrow's House testimony and outlines the steps the company is taking to become a leader in automotive safety in today's Wall Street Journal. Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder, admits that the company has been slow to address customers' concerns and promises to return the company to its core principles of "respect for people" and "continuous improvement." Toyoda, who says the past few months have been humbling for everybody at the firm, promises a company-wide, top-to-bottom review of quality control and to set a new industry standard for response to safety issues. The company will be one of the first to offer the "Smart Pedal" brake override system, he pledges. "I look forward to speaking directly to Congress and the American people tomorrow about the decisive actions Toyota is taking to make things right for our customers by building the safest vehicles in the world," Toyoda writes.