SA Toyota owners will know today

LOCAL Toyota owners will know today if they are affected by the car manufacturer's worldwide recall of thousands of vehicles due to faulty accelerators and brakes.

Toyota SA spokesperson Leo Kok said yesterday the company was awaiting a directive from the headquarters in Japan on what the South African office should do.

"The company will hold a press conference this morning and thereafter we will be in a position to state which vehicles are affected by the accelerator mechanism problem and if our hybrids are affected."

This comes after Toyota Motor Corporation said yesterday it would recall about 500 000 new Prius and other hybrid cars for braking problems as it battled criticism of its response to the spiralling safety crisis. The world's largest car manufacturer, whose reputation for quality is on the line, is under fire for two other recalls covering more than 8million vehicles worldwide due to problems with slipping floor mats and sticky accelerator pedal.

Toyota put an end to days of speculation yesterday, confirming that it would recall more than 400000 hybrid models, including the latest version of its iconic Prius, to fix a problem with the regenerative brakes, which help charge the cars' electric batteries.

Ratings agency Moody's said it was reviewing Toyota's "AA1" rating for a possible downgrade, saying the carmaker faced considerable uncertainty over its operating and financial profile in the coming year, and possibly beyond.

Chastised by safety authorities and members of US President Barack Obama's administration for moving too slowly on those recalls, Toyota president Akio Toyoda said he never believed the company was infallible but it had always tried to repair defects swiftly.