Sat, Feb 26, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Toyota shares rise in spite of latest car recall

NOTHING SURPRISING:Investor response seems to be more calm, with some seeing the recalls as a move to improve quality rather than to fix a defect


Toyota on Thursday recalled 2.3 million vehicles in North America to fix floor mat and carpet defects that could jam the accelerator — bringing its worldwide recalls to more than 12 million since late 2009.

Shares in the world’s largest automaker, however, rose more than 2 percent in Tokyo yesterday after investment bank Credit Suisse upgraded the firm to “outperform” from “neutral,” predicting it would manage to cut costs and boost operating profits.

Toyota shares were up 2.17 percent to end at ¥3,755 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it had asked Toyota to carry out the call-back, after a 10-month probe that ruled out problems with the vehicles’ electronic control systems.

The US agency said it hoped the new recalls would bring an end to the issue.

“As a result of the agency’s review, NHTSA asked Toyota to recall these additional vehicles, and now that the company has done so, our investigation is closed,” administrator David Strickland said in a statement.

Mamoru Kato, auto analyst at the Tokai Tokyo Research Center, said “the latest recall was a bit disappointing, but it was nothing surprising.”

“It was not like having a new problem emerge. The recall was an additional move to fix the earlier defect,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it was very surprising or serious.”

Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management, said investors are now reacting more calmly to Toyota’s recalls.

“It seems that the recalls are starting to be viewed as Toyota’s measures to step up quality more so than to fix a malfunction,” Okumura told Dow Jones Newswires.

In 2008, Toyota ended General Motors’ 77-year reign as the world’s largest automaker, but has since faced the impact of the economic crisis, the recalls and a strong yen.

While net profit in the nine months to December quadrupled year-on-year on a post-crisis rebound, last year ended with Toyota losing market share to rivals in the US — its second-largest market by volume.

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