Toyota shuttering plants in Europe

TOKYO — Toyota said Friday it is stopping production at its factories in France and Britain for a total of nine days amid falling sales that the company partly attributed to its recent recall woes.

The world’s No. 1 automaker will suspend output at it plant in France for four days starting April 6, said spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi. Toyota will also stop production at its two factories in Britain for five working days sometime in May.

“In France, we’re reviewing production because of the impact of recall problems,” Takeuchi said. The closures in Britain were part of previous plans, she said, but also due to sluggish car sales in Europe.

In early June, Toyota also plans to halt one of its two assembly lines at its Burnaston plant in Britain for another five working days, Takeuchi said.

The stoppages come after Toyota recalled 8.5 million vehicles globally over braking problems in its Prius hybrid, sticky gas pedals and pedals that can get stuck under floor mats.

Toyota’s sales in the 27-nation European Union sank 20 percent in February from a year earlier — even though overall EU car sales rose 3 percent.

In the U.S., the automaker’s sales fell 9 percent in February, prompting the company to launch a slew of incentives to lure back buyers.

To beef up quality controls following the spate of safety problems, Toyota has formed a quality review committee that will meet regularly with President Akio Toyoda. The first meeting will take place Tuesday in Japan.

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