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New recalls heap pressure on Toyota's founding family

Toyota Motor Corp, the family-controlled automaker, announced further recalls on Friday in addition to the 8 million already in progress.
 
The latest move will see 8,000 pickup trucks recalled over possible cracks in the drive shaft component. The part is not made by Toyota but supplied by Dana Holdings Corp, who also supply the same part to Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co. Neither Ford or Nissan are recalling vehicles.
 
The news is a further serious blow to Toyota's hard-earned reputation for safety and reliability. Fourth-generation head Akio Toyoda (pictured) made a public apology last week after the company announced the recall of its flagship hybrid range. (Click here to read our coverage of the story) "I would like to apologise publicly to our customers who are worried about Toyota's quality and safety," he said.
 
However, as the first recalls were announced in November, Toyoda has received much criticism for not reacting sooner to the crisis. US transport secretary Ray LaHood said in early February he planned to call Toyoda "and explain to him that this is a serious business."
 
53-year-old Toyoda began as Toyota president in June 2009. He is the first of the founding family to take the head job for 14 years. (Click here to read our coverage of the story) He took over during extremely difficult trading conditions for the automobile industry and is yet to see the company make a profit under his leadership.
 
Despite the problems it is currently suffering, Toyota still hopes to return to profit during 2010. (Click here to read our coverage of the story) The recall crisis has so far cost the Tokyo-based company to drop $35 billion in market value, but the full extent of the damage to the company's reputation is yet to be seen. 

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