updated 8/6/2006 4:42:38 PM ET 2006-08-06T20:42:38

Toyota Motor Corp. said its U.S. unit has reached a settlement in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a female employee.

Toyota, the world's second-biggest automaker, however, said in a press release Friday that the terms of settlement could not be released because of mutual agreement to keep them confidential.

The Toyota Motor North America Inc. employee, Sayaka Kobayashi, 42, had sought $190 million in damages when she filed the suit in the New York State Supreme Court in May against her former boss, Hideaki Otaka, as well the company's North American unit and its Japanese parent.

Otaka has since stepped down as the president and chief executive of Toyota's U.S. unit. Otaka has said he is innocent.

Toyota appointed Jim Press, an American who headed Toyota's U.S. sales unit, as president of Toyota Motor North America Inc., overseeing sales and engineering divisions as well as 12 manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Canada. Press is the first non-Japanese to take that position.

Toyota said both sides released a joint statement in which they said they were "pleased" to have reached a mutually satisfactory settlement.

Toyota also faces its own troubles, including increasing numbers of recalls partially due to its efforts to cut costs by using the same parts across different models.

Japanese authorities have launched a criminal investigation into three Toyota officials suspected of failing to do anything about a faulty steering part, which may have caused a 2004 head-on accident that injured five people.

Analysts say the company is on track to overtake General Motors Corp. as the world's largest automaker.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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