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Toyota to halt production at 2 plants
Toyota Motor Corp. plans to shut down production again at two U.S. plants, a company spokesman confirmed today.

The planned shutdown of the company's Kentucky and Texas plants for up to 14 working days, total, will follow a week-long shut down of six North American assembly plants.

That was prompted by the company's recall of 2.3 million vehicles for sticky pedals, which forced a halt on Jan. 26 in sales of eight of the company's models, or 60 percent of its inventory.

As a result, Toyota's January sales fell below 100,000 in the United States for the first time since 1999.

Toyota spokesman Mike Goss said today the automaker will idle its Georgetown, Ky., assembly plant Feb. 26, and has tentatively scheduled a production hiatus for three more days in March.

"That gives us some flexibility," Goss said, if demand for Toyota vehicles increases faster than predicted.

Goss confirmed that the company will halt production at its San Antonio plant March 15-19 and April 12-16.

"This is to keep inventory in line," Goss said.

He said all workers will be paid during the shutdowns and are expected to report to work for plant improvement activities.

The shutdowns are likely to affect the company's engine plants in Kentucky and Alabama, as well. One shift was idled during the week-long shut down.

Toyota has recalled more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide in recent months, including 437,000 Prius and other hybrids last week. It also recalled 8,000 2010 Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks last week.

The automaker also recalled 5.4 million vehicles over pedal entrapment concerns. Federal safety regulators have received complaints alleging 34 deaths since 2000 from sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

Toyota said Monday that its dealers have repaired more than 500,000 vehicles and said that repairs have been completed on about half of the 112,000 vehicles in dealer inventory when Toyota was required to stop selling vehicles last month. Detroit News

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