Page last updated at 23:27 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 00:27 UK

Toyota Corolla sales banned in Brazilian state

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Toyota has had a tough year

One of Toyota's most popular cars, the Corolla, has been banned from sale in one of Brazil's biggest states, which says the model is a safety risk.

The Minas Gerais regional government stopped sales of vehicle, claiming an acceleration problem was "putting in danger the lives of occupants".

It said nine Corollas in the state had shown problems that Toyota said were caused by badly installed floor mats.

Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles internationally.

Accelerator and brake defects have been the main reason for the recalls.

In February, US authorities began an investigation into problems with the Corolla, amid complaints the car could accelerate suddenly. At least 34 deaths in the United States have been blamed on the problem.

More than 30m Corollas have been sold since the model first rolled out of Toyota's factories in the 1960s - though it is unclear how many have been bought in Minas Gerais.

Stability issues

Earlier this week Toyota agreed to pay a record fine of $16.4m (£10.7m) in the US for failing to report defects in some of its vehicles' accelerator pedals.

The Japanese carmaker denied hiding the defects, but again acknowledged that it could have handled the issue better.

Some 2.3m Toyotas were recalled in the US in January amid reports the accelerator pedals could become stuck.

This week Toyota announced it was recalling about 34,000 Lexus GX 460 and Land Cruiser Prado SUVs worldwide.

The company said it would update the vehicles' stability-control software programme to reduce the risk of them sliding sideways when turning sharply at high speeds, partly because the fuel tank and the presence of the driver might make the left side of the vehicle heavier.

The move comes less than a week after the US consumer magazine, Consumer Reports, warned that the Lexus GX 460 was prone to roll-overs, prompting Toyota to recall nearly 10,000 sold in the US and Canada.

Toyota had earlier announced the recall of 600,000 Sienna minivans in the US.

It said prolonged exposure to road salt might result in excessive corrosion of the spare-tyre cable, and that the tyre might fall off the vehicle.

Toyota overtook General Motors in 2008 as the world's biggest carmaker, but has since blamed its quality control problems on its rapid expansion.

Executives from Toyota were fiercely criticised in the US Congress and the company's once high reputation has been left in tatters.



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