Published: May 20, 2010 11:13 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Toyota's top U.S. sales executive plans to

tell Congress that the automaker believes faulty electronics are

not to blame for unintended accelerations in its vehicles.

Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., will tell

lawmakers Thursday that the company "remains confident" that

electronics did not cause the problems that led to more than 8

million recalled vehicles, according to excerpts of his testimony

provided by Toyota.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing

Thursday to review complaints of electronic problems in Toyotas.

Safety groups have said electronics could be the culprit for the

safety issues. The government and Congress is investigating.

Toyota, the world's largest automaker, has paid a record $16.4

million fine for a slow response to an accelerator pedal recall and

faces hundreds of state and federal lawsuits. The Transportation

Department could assess more penalties if it finds evidence the

company delayed other recalls.

Toyota's safety concerns have led to the first major review of

U.S. auto safety laws in Congress since the large tire recalls by

Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. in 2000.

A Senate committee on Wednesday heard from David Strickland, the

head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along

with automakers and safety groups.

Strickland said in written testimony that documents provided by

Toyota are so numerous that NHTSA is working with the Justice

Department to categorize and analyze the documents. "That task

will take some time," he said.

The Senate legislation would require auto manufacturers to meet

new standards related to brake override systems, vehicle black

boxes and auto electronics. It would give NHTSA the power to order

an immediate recall if it finds an "imminent hazard of death or

serious injury."

Strickland raised concerns about the Senate version of the bill,

saying it stops short of granting NHTSA the full authority to issue

a prompt recall. A similar version in the House gives the agency

those powers.

He also said NHTSA may need more time and flexibility to develop

the safety standards, a complaint echoed by automakers who say the

deadlines are too tight.

Michael Stanton, president of the Association of International

Automobile Manufacturers, said the deadlines were "unreasonably

short" and automakers needed enough time to meet new standards.

Toyota has sought to beef up its safety reviews following the

recall crisis. In his update to lawmakers, Lentz will note that

dealers have fixed nearly 3.5 million vehicles under the recall.

The company, meanwhile, has completed more than 600 onsite

vehicle inspections while technicians at dealerships have conducted

another 1,400 inspections. Toyota has provided the House committee

investigating the problem with more than 700 technical reports.

"Significantly, none of these investigations have found that

our Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence, or

ETCS-i, was the cause," Lentz said in prepared remarks.

Toyota hired consulting firm Exponent Inc. to review the

electronics of its vehicles. The firm has completed more than

11,000 hours of testing and analysis of the electronic system and

the automaker intends to publish the firm findings regardless of

its conclusions.

Exponent has tried to counter testimony by an Illinois

engineering professor at a February congressional hearing that he

recreated sudden acceleration in a Toyota Tundra by

short-circuiting the electronics behind the gas pedal - without

triggering any trouble codes in the truck's computer.