(UPDATE 2) Toyota cars in the Philippines not affected by safety recall

Posted at 01/27/2010 12:11 PM | Updated as of 01/28/2010 9:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The local unit of Toyota Motor Corp. assured its customers that its products are not affected by the recent safety recall in the United States.

Elijah Marcial, public relations officer of Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP), told ANC in a phone interview on Wednesday that its cars and car parts do not have any defects and will still be sold in the country.

"We received information from Toyota Motor Corp. that all Philippines' Toyota and Lexus models are not affected by the new US 'stuck gas pedal' safety recall," she said.

Still, Marcial advised customers to talk to their dealers if they have questions or concerns about cars that they have recently purchased. They can also call TMP's customer service hotline at 819-2912.

She said Toyota repairs or replaces cars, depending on the extent of the damage, after a thorough investigation by its dealers.

On Tuesday, Toyota Motor Sales USA suspended sales of 8 models while it examines problems with sticking accelerator pedals. The move came after the world's largest automaker recalled last week 2.3 million Toyota cars and trucks in the US because of the accelerator problem.

The company said it may stop producing vehicles at 5 North American plants for a week starting February 1 to "assess and coordinate activities."

"Helping ensure the safety of our customers and restoring confidence in Toyota are very important to our company," Toyota Group Vice President Bob Carter said in a statement.

The following are the Toyota models in the US affected by the announcement:

  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2010 Highlander
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia

Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Sales USA assured that the following models "will remain for sale:"

  • Prius
  • Tacoma
  • Sienna
  • Venza
  • Solara
  • Yaris
  • 4Runner
  • FJ Cruiser
  • Land Cruiser
  • Lexus Division
  • Scion
  • select Camry models, including all hybrids

Analysts have noted that Toyota's safety issues may have a long-term impact on the credibility of the world's largest automaker.

"This unprecedented automotive decision indicates how serious a safety problem this is," Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at automotive website Edmunds.com, told Agence France-Presse.

"Toyota needed to send a clear message that they care more about their customers than monthly profits," Edmunds.com chief executive Jeremy Anwyl added.

TMP holds about 35% of the Philippine market in terms of sales as of 2009, making it the country's top automobile brand, an official of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) said.

"They have the biggest share as of 2009 at about 35%," CAMPI secretary general Homer Maranan told abs-cbnNEWS.com in a phone interview.

At present, TMP's best-selling vehicles include Vios and Innova, a distributor told abs-cbnNEWS.com. Both brands are not affected by the sales suspension in the US as of posting. --Karen Flores, abs-cbnNEWS.com, with reports from ANC and Agence France-Presse