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."
Some Toyota owners in the United States have been in rebellion over the company's slow response to their complaints of unwanted and uncontrolled acceleration that resulted in runaway cars.
Since 2003, the company has received reports of more than 2,000 accidents and 19 deaths tied to the acceleration problem.
Toyoda, who will address Toyota employees about the situation when he visits the U.S., said he has not yet fixed his own Prius.
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."