Gov. Steve Beshear appeared on cable news network MSNBC on Thursday to defend Toyota's actions during its global recall and to urge the federal government to be fair in its investigation.
Beshear spoke with anchor Tamron Hall about a letter that he drafted with the governors of three other states where Toyota has plants. Toyota's largest North American plant, which produces Camry and Avalon models that have been recalled, is in Georgetown.
"We were very concerned and are very concerned about Toyota getting fair treatment," Beshear told Hall.
Beshear said that because of the federal government's stake in rival General Motors, lawmakers should "bend over backward to make sure they treat Toyota fairly."
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When questioned about reports dating back to 2003 on the problems in some recalled vehicles, Beshear said that many automotive recalls have reports that date back years before the recall is issued.
He acknowledged that the company has made mistakes — "I'm sure they did" — but he emphasized, "We've got a great corporate citizen."
Toyoda to visit U.S.
Toyota's top executive is expected to visit the United States in early March amid pressure from a House Republican that the company's leader testify before Congress about the automaker's safety lapses.
Toyota confirmed Thursday that Akio Toyoda, Toyota's president and the grandson of the company's founder, was expected to visit the United States in early March to meet with government officials and members of Congress but said his schedule was still under discussion. The executive had previously that said he intended to travel to America to meet Toyota workers and dealers in the aftermath of a global recall of 8.5 million vehicles.
His arrival in early March would come about a week after hearings by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the Oversight Committee, said Thursday that Toyoda should meet with lawmakers and suggested his committee hold another hearing with Toyoda as a witness. If necessary, Issa said, Congress should compel Toyoda's testimony.