Posted by Dave Dykema - email
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Two automakers are looking to cash in on Toyota's recent gas pedal problems by offering incentives at the 2010 Toledo Auto Show.
Ford dealers are waiting to court drivers like Jim Bowers who own recalled Toyotas.
"I think Toyota's badge has been hit hard, both in profits, not reporting good profits, along with the safety recalls, there are other options out there," said Rob Whitmer of Whitmer Ford.
To sweeten the deal, Whitmer says his sales team is ready to offer $1000 rebates to customers who are willing trade in their Japanese models for a Ford.
"We're going to give them a competitive price to buy from a dealership that's been here for 75 years," Whitmer said. "And we're going to deliver them the superior product."
But Bower says Toyota has never failed him over the years. "I've had a 2009 Rav 4 and I've had that checked. And they've said that's fine."
He's even impressed with the way the company has navigated through its problems.
"I think at first it was a little bit shaky, but I think they're coming around now and fixing the problem and bringing it all out front."
No matter what sweet deal Ford is offering, he's not ready to drive away from the product he's trusted for the past three decades.
"I've been with Toyota since 1978, 79. I think I've had one GM car the whole time. But I'm a Toyota guy. I'll stay with them."
General Motors is also trying to capitalize on Toyota's problems. It's offering incentives to current Toyota owners who want to get rid of their cars due to fear of the faulty gas pedals.
The automaker is offering interest-free loans and down payments. The offers run through February.
Toyota officials are meeting with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to discuss its massive recall.
Millions of vehicles are on the list because of a faulty gas pedal.
The company that makes the gas pedal systems says it's working with Toyota on a fix and has ramped up production to produce those new pedals.
In the meantime, Toyota has stopped sales of eight models.
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