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Updated from 12:13 a.m. EST



) --


(TM) - Get Free Report

President Akio Toyoda said he will testify before Congress next week after being criticized for first saying he would send Toyota's U.S. executives instead.

Toyoda's acceptance of the invitation from Congress comes as the world's No. 1 automaker faces a U.S. government investigation into

potential power steering problems with the Corolla

, the world's top-selling car.

Toyoda said he looks "forward to speaking directly with Congress and the American people."

Toyota has recalled about 8.5 million of its cars because of problems with sticking gas pedals, floor mats and braking systems. The company has received criticism for its slow response to the recalls.

Toyota's president will be joined in his testimony by Yoshimi Inaba, chairman and CEO of Toyota Motor North America, and Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA.

The U.S. Transportation Department formally opened a preliminary investigation into 487,000 Toyota Corolla and Corolla Matrix compacts from the 2009-2010 model years over possible steering problems at highway speeds, the

Associated Press

reports. The government has received 168 complaints and reports of 11 injuries and eight crashes on the Corolla and Matrix compacts with electric power steering.

Toyota shares fell 1.8% in Tokyo Friday.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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