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Toyota Dealers, Plant Workers Show Support

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

In the hallway just outside the hearing room today, there were throngs of news media, many of them Japanese, also Toyota dealers in suits and ties and, in tan or Navy blue buttoned-down shirts, workers from each of Toyota's 10 U.S. plants, selected by the company to represent the Toyota family.

(Soundbite of crowded hall)

Mr. ANTHONY BROOKS(ph) (Toyota Worker): My name is Anthony Brooks and I'm from Indiana.

SIEGEL: Brooks works in the paint shop in Princeton, Indiana. He says he's here to support Toyota on behalf of the more than 30,000 people Toyota employs nationwide.

Mr. BROOKS: It's been tough reading the news because we don't see it when we work. Everyone is very concerned about the safety and quality, you know, we're not saying they're lies, we're not throwing blame or anything but I think it's tough on the workers to see that.

SIEGEL: So, Brooks and about 40 other plant workers from West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, California, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas are meeting with their representatives to deliver this message.

Mr. KYLE SHELL(ph) (Toyota Worker): Toyota always takes care of their customers. We're not a company that's wants to pass on defects to anybody.

SIEGEL: That's Kyle Shell of Huntsville, Alabama. He builds V8 engines.

Mr. SHELL: We're a good corporate citizen. We want to give to our community, and we want to be a blessing, is what I would say, to our area and to our customers.

Mr. BUTCH CARTER(ph) (Toyota Dealer): Things happen when you build things, that's just the way it is, all right?

SIEGEL: Butch Carter owns a Toyota dealership in Bastrop, Louisiana. He has a more pointed message for lawmakers.

Mr. CARTER: Be fair, be fair. Toyota is in the fabric of America and anything that's unfair will flow back down to the small people and hurt'em.

SIEGEL: The small people being, he says, the 30-some thousand plant workers we mentioned and a network of more than 160,000 dealers and suppliers in all 50 states.

Mr. CARTER: There will be strange questions come out. There will be tough questions come out. That's part of the process. But the issue is we feel when everything settles down that Toyota will show through it in a very professional way. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.