Transportation chief Ray LaHood says he went too far when he advised Toyota drivers to "stop driving" their cars at a House hearing this morning. "What I said in there was obviously a misstatement," he said later. His staff and other administration officials quickly sought to tamp down the alarmist sentiment. "He just meant that people should get their vehicles to the dealership ASAP," one official tells the Detroit News. "He didn't mean to stop driving the vehicles altogether."
Toyota shares quickly sank after LaHood's initial comments, but the decline eased after his clarification, notes the Wall Street Journal. Shares were down about 5% in afternoon trading, and they're down 20% overall since the recalls began. LaHood still plans to speak directly with the CEO of Toyota about the situation.
(Read more Ray LaHood stories.)