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Friday, April 30, 2010



Industry, Government, Education and Non-Profit Leaders Join Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater to Advise on Quality and Safety

Source: Toyota News

NEW YORK, NY April 29, 2010 – Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater announced today the appointment of six highly-regarded safety and quality experts to Toyota's independent North American Quality Advisory Panel, completing the Panel's membership. The distinguished roster of experts, with experience spanning the corporate, government, education and non-profit sectors, join Secretary Slater, who was named in March to lead the new Panel.

Secretary Slater was instrumental in the selection and approval of the newly-appointed Panel members. The full Panel includes:

· Rodney E. Slater, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation;

· Norman Augustine, former chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation;

· Patricia Goldman, former Vice-Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board;

· Mary Good, Dean of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and former President, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS);

· Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School of Management;

· Brian O’Neill, former President, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; and

· Sheila Widnall, Professor, MIT and former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force.

This independent group of experts will advise Toyota’s North American affiliates on quality and safety issues, working closely with the company’s leadership team and the newly-formed North American Quality Task Force, led by Chief Quality Officer, Steve St. Angelo. Panel members will have unfettered access to information concerning Toyota’s quality and safety procedures and direct communication with Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda as well as with the newly-formed Special Committee for Global Quality, led by Mr. Toyoda. The Panel will also be able to commission additional outside reviews and will have the resources necessary to pursue its mandate.

“Toyota is in the midst of a significant global effort to strengthen our quality assurance operations and set a new, higher standard for vehicle safety and reliability. We are committed to taking the steps necessary to exceed customer expectations in every way possible,” said Mr. St. Angelo. “Engaging the experience and counsel of independent experts is a critical component of this process. We are honoured to have each of these accomplished leaders partner with us to help ensure that we achieve our goals.”

“I’m pleased to be working with a group of such distinguished leaders. Each panel member is widely respected for his or her individual background, expertise and capabilities – in business, transportation, government and safety,” said Secretary Slater. “Taken together, this group has the diversity of experience and depth of knowledge needed to offer sound advice, guidance and counsel to Toyota regarding its safety and quality protocols.”
The Panel's immediate priority is to develop an in-depth understanding of Toyota's safety and quality control processes, including the significant steps the company has already taken to further improve its quality assurance capabilities. The Panel has already begun on-site reviews of the company's key operating facilities, plants and technical centres around North America. In May, the Panel will travel to Japan, where they will meet with senior company executives, including President Akio Toyoda, and visit the company's quality, research and development, and technical centres.

As one of its first actions, the Panel will undertake an evaluation of the electronic throttle control system (ETCS-i) installed in Toyota and Lexus vehicles and its findings will be made public. For this evaluation, the group will have full access to the results of extensive testing previously and currently conducted by Toyota as well as the comprehensive, independent study being undertaken for Toyota by Exponent, a leading engineering and scientific consulting firm based in Palo Alto, California. As part of its on-site reviews, the Panel will visit Exponent's facilities and meet with the firm's engineers.

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