AUTO

Toyota Pulling Out of Iran

TOKYO - Bowing to growing international pressure over Iran's nuclear development program, Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that it suspended car exports to the Middle Eastern nation.

"In light of the current situation" exports have been halted, a spokeswoman for the Japanese auto maker said. Toyota shipped about 220 cars to Iran so far this year until the suspension took effect in June.

Toyota's exports to Iran are a drop in the bucket when compared with the 7.38 million vehicles it aims to sell world-wide in the current fiscal year.

Still, the move could help the world's largest car maker sidestep tarnishing its image even further in the U.S., which has been putting pressure on Japan to limit its business transactions with Iran. The U.S. continues to be Toyota's biggest market even after a massive vehicle recall earlier this year seriously dented its sales.

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