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March 9, 2010

BELGIUM: Toyota Europe launch delay only “theoretical”

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) has firmly rebuffed any suggestion it could delay the launch of several models this year, although a spokesman conceded there was a "theoretical possibility" it could happen.

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) has firmly rebuffed any suggestion it could delay the launch of several models this year, although a spokesman conceded there was a “theoretical possibility” it could happen.

Reports had surfaced that the European launch of models including the Auris Hybrid could be postponed as the company addressed the fallout from its acceleration and brake problems, which has seen millions of vehicles recalled worldwide.

TME president and CEO Tadashi Arashima had made some comments during the recent Geneva motor show, but a spokesman stressed these were theoretical, not concrete.

“I was with Arashima when this [comment] was mentioned and it was really very hypothetical,” the TME spokesman in Brussels said.

“The question was, would we consider delaying product launch to guarantee quality and the answer was, if necessary, yes, but it was a very general comment and is not a specific plan. It is just a theoretical possibility.”

Toyota has been battered for weeks with potential problems surrounding its accelerator and brake systems and suggestions of any model delay are just the latest difficulties in a media storm that has raged around the company.

“We have no plan to delay any launch – in terms of Toyota we have the regular Auris and RAV4 [updates] both of them in March – in July we have the Auris Hybrid – these will go on as expected,” added the spokesman.

“The most important one is the [Lexus] CT 200h, which we announced at the Geneva motor show will enter production at the end of 2010. We will take orders in Q3 this year.”

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