The new president of General Motors Asia Pacific (Japan) on Wednesday said he saw the recent spate of massive recalls plaguing Toyota as a cue for his company to do better.

”Taking this case as a reference, we also need to pick ourselves up,” Sumito Ishii, named in January as chief of the Japanese GM unit told a news conference, adding that Toyota’s woes could not be dismissed as somebody else’s problem.

Noting that 2009 was a ”tough” year for GM as well as its Japan unit, Ishii promised his company would continue to keep its loyal customers with models like its popular new Camaro line and also win over new buyers.

GM has announced incentive offers for Toyota vehicle owners who switch to GM cars, Kyodo News reported.

Ishii also stressed the quality of GM products and the automaker’s shift from its image of being too distant to being customer-friendly.

In the past, GM ”became so big that it could not see the faces of its customers,” he said, referring to General Motors Corp’s filing for US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year and its being overtaken by Toyota as the world’s largest vehicle maker.

He added that employees at the GM Japan unit were all ”professionals that had a sense of crisis” in dealing with the auto business.

Asked about the impact of Toyota recalls in GM sales, Ishii, who worked with Toyota before joining ‘old GM’, said it might have a positive impact for GM in the United States should Toyota owners switch to GM cars.

Encouraged by improved sales from the latter part of 2009, the GM Japan unit will boost its marketing campaign through new channels such as social media websites to raise the profile of the GM brand in Japan, especially since its Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is not as widely known as the Chevrolet Camaro, Ishii said.

He added the Japanese unit would continue to aim to boost annual sales to about 2,500 units by 2011, a goal that was announced by his predecessor Rick Brown. It sold about 1,600 units in 2008.

He said it was uncertain if the Chevy Volt would be rolled out in Japan this year – it is scheduled for US sale from November.