"If we are not receiving the cooperation and transparency this Committee and the American people are demanding from Toyota, I would fully support the issuance of a subpoena," said Issa. "Whether it is for a microprocessor engineer or the top executive, we have a duty to determine what Toyota knew, when they knew it and if they met their full obligation of disclosure to U.S. regulators and the American people."
In a letter from Issa to Toyoda Thursday, the congressman noted the report that Toyoda had delayed his trip, and suggested he change the timing to coincide with the committee hearing on Feb. 24th.
"I would encourage you to consider moving up that timeline to coincide with the Congressional hearings that have been scheduled for the week of February 22nd," wrote Rep. Issa. "Surely, if Congress can be here, so can you and I have no doubt that you are eager to take advantage of the earliest opportunity possible to meet with lawmakers and have an open, candid and transparent dialogue with us, as well as the American people."
Issa also said in a statement that if Toyoda delayed his trip the committee should consider scheduling a follow-up hearing that would include Toyoda "as well as Bush Administration officials, former Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, and former Administrators of the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, Nicole Nason, and David Kelly."
Earlier this week, Toyoda said he was now personally taking charge of his company's recall situation and promised to visit the U.S. soon "to explain the conditions and the situation to those people."
"Let me assure everyone," Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder, said from the company's global headquarters, "that we will re-double our commitment to quality as a lifeline of our company with myself taking the lead."
U.S. and Congressional investigators want to know why the Japanese car company waited at least a month to inform its customers and government agencies of the braking problem, well after it had introduced a fix to the software in cars being manufactured.
The Toyota CEO told reporters he "did not recall the exact month and day" when the company first learned of the brake problem with the Prius. "I consistently receive all sorts of information," he said. "If you ask when, the answer is this year."
When asked by ABC News if any Toyota officials would be held responsible for the global recall Toyoda said, "In regards to responsibility, Toyota's responsibility is that we have to truly cooperate together to regain the trust of our customers."
"I don't personally believe Toyota is failure proof," Toyoda said as translated. "But when we receive inquires or reports from customers we make sure that all of those things are corrected and modified, (we) implement improvement so that we can provide better products for our customers. We have done that in the past and we will continue to do so in the future as well."
"We will do everything in our power," Toyoda said in English, "to gain the confidence of our customers."