Toyota's President and CEO, Akio Toyoda, made his first public comment about the the Toyota recall during an interview with NHK today, in which he publicly apologized to the company's customers. "I am deeply sorry," the grandson of the automaker's founder told the Japanese network, going on to say that "we think of our customers as a priority and we guarantee their safety."

Toyoda said that the automaker is continuing to investigate the recall of eight Toyota products affected by the sticking accelerator issue (now spanning three continents and affecting nearly nine million vehicles), and when asked about Toyota's crumbling reputation for quality and reliability, Toyoda said, "I would like for the people to trust us."

Toyota plans to run full-page ads in 25 Sunday and Monday newspapers in the U.S. to explain the recall to consumers, and we wouldn't be surprised to see CTS, the company supplying the apparently faulty accelerator systems, to be mentioned several times in the ads.

Interestingly, ABC News points out that after Toyoda's interview at a hotel in Davos, Switzerland, the CEO was shuttled away... in a black Audi.

[Source: ABCNews | Image: Junko Kimura/Getty]