Published: Jan 15, NYTimes

DETROIT — In his first visit to the Detroit auto show since becoming Toyota’s president in 2005, Katsuaki Watanabe used this very public forum to convey a passionate plea to his employees on Monday to take personal responsibility for the quality of Toyota cars and trucks.

“Each individual must carry the responsibility” for ensuring quality, from design to manufacturing and selling cars and trucks, Mr. Watanabe said.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr. Watanabe said the dictate was “something that’s really shameful for us to share with you.”

The discussions surprised journalists here, who expect executives to keep to scripts that extol the virtues of their newest models and concept cars.

Read more this news quote

photo: Katsuaki Watanabe, who is visiting the Detroit auto show, has led the expansion of Toyota, which passed Ford last year to rank as the second-biggest car company in the United State (photo by Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times)