Jim Lentz, president of Toyota's embattled U.S. sales operation, hit the "Today" show and YouTube this morning as the carmaker endures a continuing crisis sparked by faulty accelerators.
The Today appearance is the beginning of a PR blitz for the company, which saw its stock plummet and is being blasted by the media, car owners and Congress for its rocky response (the latest recall is the second concerning the accelerator problem) to the crisis.
Lentz called Toyota cars "safe" and said he doesn't think the company has moved too slowly in the effort, although he noted Toyota has "been investigating this for a long time." He announced that the 2.3M cars affected by the recall will be fitted with a reinforcement bar and another five million cars will get new pedals.
The interview came on the same day the New York Times featured an article on its front page headlined "Toyota's Slow Awakening to a Deadly Problem."
Lentz also appears in this direct appeal to consumers posted by the company on YouTube: