Despite the current credit crisis and poor economic outlook for the American economy Toyota is ramping up to launch a new credit car through its Toyota Financial Services division. The card will have a points system that can be redeemed for future discounts on vehicle parts and maintenance, or toward the down payment on a new Toyota vehicle.

Toyota has already issued about 50,000 Lexus-branded credit cards since the 2005 with the bulk of customers using their accrued points for maintenance services. Speaking with Automotive News, Toyota exec Mike Wells said up to 140,000 customers are expected to sign up for the new line of credit.

Credit card balances will be carried through U.S. Bank, but Toyota will be in charge of maintaining customer data and portfolios.

A number of rival carmakers have offered credit card services for a number of years including GM, which has offered a similar points-based credit card in a number of markets. Toyota is yet to reveal if its new card will aslo be offered in other markets.