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Sat, Dec 26, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Chavez threatens to send Toyota out of Venezuela


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened to expropriate a Toyota plant because the local managers refuse to build all-terrain vehicles.

Chavez, speaking at a public event late on Wednesday, also issued a warning to Ford, General Motors and Fiat, who also have assembly plants in Venezuela.

“I immediately order an inspection of the Toyota plant, to see why they do not want to build all-terrain vehicles,” Chavez said.

“We have to force them, and if not they can leave and we’ll bring in another company,” he said.

“The Chinese want to come, the Chinese make the all-terrain,” he said.

Chavez asked for a minimum quota of Toyota all-terrain vehicles built in Venezuela, and threatened to expropriate their plant if they refused to comply.

“Let’s suppose those people [from Toyota] don’t want to. Well, we’ll tell them to leave, this is our house. And we’ll take those same warehouses and factories, we’ll pay them whatever they are worth, we aren’t going to rob anyone, and then we’ll quickly call the Chinese,” he said.

The Venezuelan leader on Wednesday delivered autos imported from Argentina “without intermediaries” that were sold at affordable prices and distributed through a new network of “socialist” outlets.

In related news. Toyota is recalling about 43,000 cars in China because of a defect that may cause engine oil to leak, a company spokesman said yesterday.

The recall affects the Lexus ES 350, the Lexus RX 350, the Highlander and the Previa minivan.

It comes months after Toyota announced its biggest ever recall in China, affecting about 688,000 vehicles, because of a defect in the electric window system.

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