Toyota braced for sales hit from accelerator-related car recalls

Toyota’s unprecedented recall of millions of vehicles with accelerator problems is taking a toll on sales and may force the world’s largest automaker to cut 2010 sales forecasts.

In the first public comment from an executive at Toyota’s head office, the company’s executive in charge of quality said yesterday he was expecting a sales hit from the recall.

“The sales forecast is something that we’re extremely worried about,” executive vice president Shinichi Sasaki told a news conference. The company will report its third-quarter earnings on Thursday.

On top of a separate recall for slipping floormats, also linked to unintended acceleration, some 8.1m Toyota vehicles are now being recalled, more than its total group sales last year. Although Toyota says the occurrence of problems is rare, public confidence has been shaken.