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Toyota Cuts Tundra Pick-up Production

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DETROIT, March 13, 2008; Reuters reported that Toyota Motor Corp, which bumped Ford Motor Co for No. 2 in U.S. sales last year, said on Thursday it would trim U.S. production of its full-size Tundra pickup trucks due to sluggish demand.

"We are basically adjusting to the current business condition," said Carri Chandler, a spokeswoman at Toyota's North American headquarters.

Chandler said she did not know when Toyota would start cutting Tundra production at its two plants in Texas and Indiana or by how much production would be reduced.

"We're keeping all our people," she said. "There will be no layoffs."

Toyota has the capacity to produce about 300,000 Tundras at the two plants. It sold 196,555 vehicles in 2007, the truck's first year on the market.

However, the U.S. housing market downturn has hurt sales of large pickup trucks, which are often bought by contractors and small businesses for use on work sites, analysts and auto executives have said.

The Tundra puts Toyota on head-on competition with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler in the full-size pickup segment, the last area of the U.S. market still controlled by Detroit's Big Three.

Toyota's U.S. sales were down 2.5 percent overall in the first two months of 2008 from a year earlier, and the U.S. auto market is expected to show a third consecutive year of declines due to surging gasoline prices, the weak housing market and tighter credit.

Reporting for Reuters by Soyoung Kim, editing by Toni Reinhold