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Toyota Likely To Miss Output Target By 20 Percent

Fri, 02/26/2010 - 3:22am

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. is likely to miss its output target in North America by 20 percent due to slumping sales amid massive recalls, Japan's top business daily said Friday.

Toyota's production in North America is now seen at 350,000 units from February to April, down by 20 percent from its original target, the Nikkei business daily said, citing no sources.

Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi could not confirm the report Friday, saying the company has not released production data in the region.

The Nikkei said the world's biggest automaker, mired in massive global recalls, has already told auto parts suppliers about a fall in its production target.

Toyota has recalled 8.5 million vehicles, more than 6 million of them in the United States — the automaker's biggest market.

The recall crisis battered Toyota's pristine reputation for safety and quality.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda on Wednesday appeared before Congress and repeatedly apologized for safety problems that have resulted in massive recalls.

He visited the assembly line at the company's largest North American manufacturing plant Thursday and met with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, repeating pledges to boost safety efforts.

To cope with falling sales following the recalls, Toyota said it was halting production temporarily in San Antonio, Texas, and Georgetown, Kentucky, in March and April.

The Kentucky plant, which makes the Camry, Avalon and Venza vehicles, also plans to take a non-production day on Feb. 26. The Texas plant makes the Tundra pickup truck.

Toyota's sales in the United States tumbled 16 percent even though sales by most other rivals rebounded from last year's dismal results.

If slumping sales in the United States continue, Toyota may have to suspend output in North America further and downgrade its worldwide output projection this year.

Takeuchi said the company does not release global output data. But she said Toyota aims to sell 8.27 million vehicles worldwide in 2010, up 6 percent year-on-year.

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