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Quality issues hit next Corolla

2006-10-09 10:47

Tokyo - Toyota will push back the North American launch of its new Corolla from 2007 to 2008 in order to maintain quality, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) reported on Saturday.

Toyota, Japan's top auto maker, has been plagued this year by a rising number of vehicle recalls. In July, it recalled about 400 000 SUVs in the United States, its single-biggest market.

Sales of the remodelled Corolla are set to start in Japan next week, and the company had hoped to cut the gap between domestic and overseas releases to one year from the usual two, the Nikkei said.

Instead, the company has decided to prioritise quality and start sales more gradually, the paper added.

Toyota officials were not available for comment.

The Corolla is currently manufactured at a plant in Canada and a joint venture plant with General Motors in California, where Corolla production is up roughly 10 percent this year.

The company may have judged that delaying the launch of its new model will have only a limited impact on profits, the Nikkei added.

Toyota last month mapped out a plan to boost global vehicle sales by 11% over two years to 9.8 million units in 2008.

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