Toyota drives to ease concerns 

In the wake of the massive Toyota recall, the company will open additional service centers nationwide, including one in San Francisco to specialize in hybrid vehicle problems.

Toyota is working to regain its reputation for quality after recalling more than 8 million vehicles worldwide for defects linked to unintended acceleration.

Stepped-up efforts to boost quality also come as the carmaker prepares to recall 270,000 Lexus and Toyota cars for a flaw that may cause engines to stall and faces further questions from a U.S. congressional committee about vehicle safety.

The company will open seven more North American field service offices, bringing the total to 21, Dino Triantafyllos, vice president of Toyota’s U.S. quality division, told reporters Thursday in Toyota City, Japan, where the company is based.

“These steps are more than fixing past mistakes,” Triantafyllos said. “It’s also about overall quality improvements.”

The automaker’s field service offices, with an average of four to five employees, will each focus on specific problems, Triantafyllos said, without saying what the budget is for the operations.

Hybrid issues will be addressed in the San Francisco office; heating, cooling and ventilation in Jacksonville, Fla.; trucks and chassis components in Houston; and high-altitude issues and sport-utility vehicles in Denver, he said.

Toyota engineers have reviewed 3,600 cases of acceleration-related complaints and found no links to electronics in vehicles, Triantafyllos said. The company has completed more than 90 percent of brake adjustments in recalled hybrid cars and has carried out more than 4 million fixes for acceleration recalls, he said.

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