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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Toyota officials revealed Thursday the next step in the work of their independent North American Quality Advisory Panel.

The group that's been charged with strengthening safety and quality assurance practices is set to meet with Toyota president Akio Toyoda and other top executives next week in Japan.

The automaker explained that the panel led by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater has a detailed agenda for this meeting. Some of the points include:

—Confirm the panel is initiating a rigorous peer review of the study of Toyota's electronic throttle control system currently underway by engineering and scientific consulting firm Exponent.

—Discuss the investigation about decision-making and communications processes within Toyota related to quality issues.

—Witness how Toyota customers' safety and quality issues are handled and resolved.

"Toyota has promised unfettered access to its executives, quality control experts, systems and data, and so far they have delivered," Slater indicated in a statement sent by the automaker.

"We have already seen much of this in North America, and the logical next step is to visualize the entire operation at the global headquarters," he continued.

Regarding the peer review of Exponent's study, Slater insisted that Toyota and Exponent welcome further scrutiny.

"Our panel includes highly respected safety, quality and engineering experts who are thoroughly exploring Exponent's findings, and we are seeking further study by other independent experts," Slater emphasized.

"Because we are dealing with issues the entire auto industry faces regarding the safety of the driving public, we are not interested in cutting corners," he continued.

The automaker recapped that the panel was formed three weeks ago. Executives mentioned the group has visited several operations to date, which include:

—Toyota's North American manufacturing headquarters in Kentucky and the Georgetown, Ky. plant.

—Toyota Motor Sales USA headquarters in California.

—The Longo Toyota dealership in California, where the panel witnessed the remedies for sticky pedals and floor mat entrapment recalls.

—Exponent headquarters in California.

—Design, development and testing processes at Toyota Technical Center operations in Michigan and Arizona.

During these visits, the OEM noted the panel met with several Toyota executives, including chief quality officer Steve St. Angelo, who will join the panel's meetings in Japan.

"The panel has seen how Mr. St. Angelo is leading a massive Toyota North America effort to improve all aspects of safety and quality. He and the entire Toyota team are keenly focused," Slater pointed out.

"However, the advisory panel will be direct in its assessment and advice," Slater added.

Along with Slater, Toyota noted other panel members are:

—Norman Augustine, former chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corp.

—Patricia Goldman, former vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

—Mary Good, dean of engineering and information technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

—Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management of Toronto, Ontario.

—Brian O'Neill, former president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

—Sheila Widnall, professor at MIT and former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force.