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Huge window switch recall hampers Toyota comeback

By Yuri Kageyama

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10 2012 2:52 p.m. MDT

If Toyota makes its customers feel like they are being cared for properly as the repairs are done, there probably won't be much of an impact, said Mike Jackson, director of North American production forecasting for IHS Automotive, an industry consulting firm.

"There's a tremendous amount of loyalty to the Toyota brand," he said. "Certainly it's not going to be the primary point of consideration for most consumers out there."

The window switch recall also highlights one of the risks of globalized car production: Automakers install the same parts on multiple models in different counties, saving money but exposing their lineups to big recalls if a part is flawed.

Toyota said it quickly identified all the models using the problem switches and took action. "We want to make sure that we addressed this issue quickly and effectively, and I think we are doing that with this recall," Hanson said.

The recall covers only the master power window switch on the driver's side, which controls all four windows. Switches inside the other doors are different, Toyota said.

Before the safety recalls two years ago, Toyota had a reputation for pristine quality, centered around its super-lean production methods that empowered workers to hone in on quality control. Toyota executives have acknowledged the escalating recalls were partly caused by the company's overly ambitious growth goals.

Toyota is also suffering from a sales plunge in China where car buyers are shunning Japanese brands because of a territorial dispute over islands claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.

Kageyama reported from Tokyo. Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/yurikageyama

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