POSTED: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 9:49am
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:26pm
WASHINGTON (AP) - Toyota said Tuesday it plans to idle
production temporarily at assembly plants in Texas and Kentucky
while it grapples with massive recalls in the United States.
Toyota spokesman Mike Goss said a plant in San Antonio, Texas,
has scheduled production breaks for the weeks of March 15 and April
12. A plant in Georgetown, Ky., has scheduled a non-production day
on Feb. 26 and may not produce vehicles on three more days in March
and April, Goss said.
Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled 8.5 million vehicles globally
during the past four months because of problems with gas pedals,
floor mats and brakes, threatening to undermine the safety and
quality reputation of the world's No. 1 automaker.
Goss confirmed the decision was connected to the recalls. He
said workers at the plants will be retained and paid during the
production suspensions and will receive additional training.
The Kentucky plant builds the Camry, Avalon and Venza for
Toyota. The Texas plant manufactures the Tundra pickup truck.
Toyota temporarily suspended sales of vehicles like Camry and
Corolla in late January after it issued a recall of millions of
vehicles over problems with potentially sticky gas pedals. The stop
sale was meant to give the automaker time to come up with a fix.
Dealers began selling affected vehicles again after about five
days when Toyota announced a repair that it said would solve the
problem. But the lost sales days meant many were left with higher
numbers of unsold cars.
Goss said the automaker wants to ensure dealers don't build up
excessive inventories as they try to clear to through the cars
still on their lots.
"Our dealers are busy trying to sell those vehicles, but we
can't let inventory back up on top of that," he said.
Toyota has been fixing vehicles under recall. Toyota Vice
President Bob Carter told reporters at the National Automobile
Dealers Association convention in Orlando, Fla., on Monday that the
company had repaired about 500,000 of the 2.3 million vehicles
recalled over a potentially sticky gas pedal.
Toyota said its president, Akio Toyoda, on Wednesday will answer
more questions in Japan on the beleaguered company's recalls.
Toyoda will give updates on the global recall of some 400,000 Prius
gas-electric hybrids at the Tokyo news conference, the company said
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)