PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Toyota says its manufacturing operations won’t be back to normal until the end of this year, because of last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The slowdown in production could jeopardize Toyota’s standing as the number one automaker in the world.  Despite millions of recalls, the Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia said 70% of all vehicles in this country are made by Toyota.

Kevin Mazzucola, the Association’s executive director, said, “They’ve been through a lot with the recalls last year and they were ramping up again and have that momentum and with that loyal customer base, they’ve hung tough and then here’s another blow to them.”

Mazzucola said being up front about production problems should help Toyota weather this latest crisis, but he adds, if you’re in the market for a Toyota, you might want to start shopping now.

Reported by Margie Smith, KYW Newsradio 1060

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