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Toyota's worldwide problems are also affecting sales in Israel, the importer stated in a rare interview yesterday.

"I estimate U.S. sales dropped 16% and sales in Israel are down 10-15%, depending on the model," said George Horesh, owner of Union Motors, Toyota's local importer.

"Currently, all the models being sold are problem-free, but consumers are concerned and that's natural. I'm convinced this is short-term," he said.

Toyota has been subject to bad press around the globe, scrutiny and lawsuits after it announced that some of its models had a faulty accelerator pedal, which caused the death of a family in the United States.

It recalled millions of cars worldwide for repairs. In Israel, it issued recall notices for 33,000 vehicles.

Union Motors said 50% of the Prius model cars recalled here had already come in for repairs. Of the other models being recalled, the company is fixing some 1,000 cars a day, it said.

However, the company hasn't actually received a single complaint about faulty accelerators here, said Horesh.

"It can't be denied: Toyota is going through a crisis," he said. "With that in mind, Toyota took action quickly, as transparently and honestly as possible, in order to boost consumers' trust."