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Toyota EA assures of safety

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Toyota East Africa announced on Tuesday that cars sold from their local showrooms were not affected by the worldwide recall due to faulty accelerator pedals.

Addressing journalists in Nairobi, Toyota East Africa Managing Director Hylton Bannon explained that cars sold by the regional arm were manufactured in Japan and South Africa while those in question originate from Europe and the US.

“We were in conversation with Toyota Motor Corporation as late as yesterday afternoon and as far as they are concerned and we are concerned, it is not spreading anywhere else at the moment,” Mr Bannon said.

The recalled vehicles have been suffering from a loose floormat believed to force down the accelerator, a problem suspected of causing crashes due to irregular acceleration.

The world’s largest automaker has so far recalled close to 4.2 million cars with the most affected models being the Prius manufactured between2004 and 2009, Rav 4 (2009-2010), Avalon (2005-2010) and Camry (2007-2010).

Mr Bannon added that the recall was mainly made in Europe and the US, which would not have a huge impact on the Kenyan market.

“The vehicles we sell in Kenya are built for African conditions which are totally different to those elsewhere primarily due to road and fuel conditions,” he said.

The MD however advises concerned customers to take their cars to Toyota centers countrywide for specialised checks.

“Should any of our Toyota customers be concerned, please contact Toyota East Africa directly as we are the only official Toyota distributor in Kenya and well placed to answer any queries.”

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Toyota currently enjoys 24 percent market share in Kenya, with the Hilux being its most successful vehicle.

Despite the negative publicity from the recalls, Mr Bannon believes the company will be able to increase its current market share to 25 percent in a shrinking new car market.

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