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Seat fabric may force Toyota recall in US, Canada

Seat fabric may force Toyota recall in US, CanadaIn this Aug. 2, 2013 photo, the emblem of a Toyota car shines in Tokyo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Itsuo Inouye

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. is in discussions with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about a possible recall in the U.S. and Canada covering several car models, including the popular Camry, for a problem with seat fabric.

The Japanese automaker has already halted sales of the problem vehicles, which are only those equipped with seat heaters, because the fabric may not clear flammability standards, company spokesman Naoki Sumino said Thursday.

Affected models are the Camry, Camry hybrid, Avalon sedan, Avalon hybrid, Corolla subcompact, Sienna minivan, Tundra and Tacoma trucks sold since August 2012, when the fabric supplier was changed, he said.

He didn't immediately know how many vehicles were affected.

Sumino said it's still unclear whether the NHTSA would decide on a recall. There have been no reports of accidents or other incidents related to the fabric problem.

Toyota has been struggling to regain its once sterling reputation for quality after announcing massive recalls over several years, starting in 2009, for a variety of defects including braking, accelerators and floor mats.

Toyota was fined for being slow on recalls, which affected more than 14 million vehicles, and faces lawsuits.

Toyota, the top automaker ahead of General Motors Corp. and Volkswagen AG in global vehicle sales, has promised to be quicker with recalls and more careful with model development to avoid a recurrence of its troubles.

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