TOKYO ( TheStreet) -- Following through on a promise to Congress last month, Toyota ( TM) convened the first meeting of a global quality committee with representatives from around the world, aimed at breaking Tokyo's stranglehold on decision-making. The committee includes newly-appointed chief quality officers for North America, Europe, China, Japan and the remaining Asian countries as well as a sixth member representing other regions. "Those officers are close to the customers in their regions," said Toyota President Akio Toyoda, in prepared remarks. "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."
Toyoda discussed his intent to form the committee with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February. Toyota said the group will investigate the causes of quality problems, including those that require recalls, and will re-examine factors that affect design quality. In "resolving current issues," the committee will seek improved global communication and transparency, the company said. In the U.S., a "swift market analysis response team" composed of specially-trained technicians will promptly conduct onsite inspections. Toyota will increase the number of technology offices in North America to seven from one, and will establish seven offices in Europe, six in China and others in other regions. The company will also increase the use of event data recorders, which record vehicle condition and driver operation in its vehicles and will expand the use of remote communications intended to convey vehicle diagnostic information to drivers. Additionally, third party experts will evaluate quality improvements, safer driving will be encouraged and all new models will include a brake override system that reduces power when the brake and accelerator are applied simultaneously. -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. .