I personally regret that we have caused worry for so many people, Mr. Akio Toyoda said at a news conference in Nagoya. I apologize from my heart.”
He said the issue had created a crisis situation but the company’s employers, dealers and suppliers would “unify in their utmost efforts to regain the trust of our customers as soon as possible”.
The world's biggest automaker recalled more than 8 million of its cars worldwide since the first recalls were announced in November.
It announced a recall of 2.3 million U.S. vehicles on Jan 21 to repair defects linked to unintended acceleration.
Toyota expects a record loss of 450 billion yen ($5 billion) for the 2009 fiscal year that will end in March, on top of a similar loss for 2008.
Japan's government has ordered Toyota to investigate complaints from customers about brake failures in the latest version of its Prius hybrid car, the nation's best- selling vehicle last year.