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Crisis-hit Toyota to idle two US factories: report

February 16, 2010

Toyota Motor will temporarily halt production at two US factories after sales were hit hard by a string of safety problems behind the recalls of millions of vehicles, a report said Tuesday.

Toyota will suspend output at its Kentucky plant producing Camry and Avalon sedans for four days, the Tokyo Shimbun reported, citing unnamed sources.

It will also suspend production of Tundra pickup trucks at its Texas plant for a total of 10 days in March and April, the newspaper said.

The decision is part of Toyota's effort to cut stockpiles of its vehicles after a drop in its US sales owing to high-profile problems linked to accelerator and brake systems that have tarnished the company's reputation.

Immediate confirmation of the report was not available.

Toyota, which in 2008 dethroned General Motors as the world's biggest car maker, has pledged to fix more than eight million vehicles worldwide, more than its entire 2009 global sales, due to safety problems.

Toyota's president Akio Toyoda is due to provide an update on the progress of the massive recalls at a news conference on Wednesday.

Toyoda, the grandson of the Toyota founder, plans soon to fly to the United States, where the company faces a congressional grilling and a host of lawsuits.

Last week, Toyota expanded its global recall to include more than 400,000 of its newest petrol-electric Prius models as well as the plug-in Prius, the Sai and the Lexus HS250h, which use the same braking system.

Earlier this month the company temporarily halted production in North America of several models whose sales were suspended over sticking accelerator pedals.

Toyota also suspended production of the Sai and the Lexus HS250h in Japan on Saturday until it developed a fix for their faulty braking system.

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