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Akio Toyoda takes emotional tour of assembly plant

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Akio Toyoda takes emotional tour of assembly plant

02/25/2010, 9:05 PMBY MARK KLEIS

Toyota’s CEO, Akio Toyoda, spent the day touring Toyota’s largest plant in North America – the Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant. Toyoda’s tour comes after a grueling day of testimony and questioning in front of a Congressional committee.

During Akio Toyoda’s visit and tour of the Georgetown assembly plant, Toyoda took the time to address a group of roughly 100 plant workers. While speaking to the workers, Toyoda said that he felt “more comfortable” speaking with them, even pausing briefly, displaying signs of emotion while thanking the handful of dedicated workers who made an appearance during the hearings.

“I’d just like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, ” Toyoda said.

Toyoda’s visit left a lasting impression on some workers, who, like Toyota, are feeling the pinch coming from the recent rash of recalls. Lisa Webb, a plastics worker at the assembly plant, said that Toyoda tearing up helped her realize that he was going through some of the same struggles as the workers are.

“That just made me feel more inspired, ” Webb said.

The Georgetown assembly plant is scheduled to stop production this Friday, in addition to the possibility of additional days in the near future due to decreased demand resulting from the recalls. The production comes just weeks after Toyota halted production at several plants while it switched out parts in the assembly line due to the gas pedal assembly recall.



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