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Top Stories
US Demands Toyota Turn Over Recall Documents
Toyota May Lengthen Warranties to Keep Customers
Toyota Probes Corolla Steering, Considers Recall
Dealers Will See More of NADA in 2010, Tonkin Says
Pickens: Energy Independence Starts with Natural Gas in Big Trucks
Car Dealers Revved Up
Click Here for More News from NADAFrontPage.com
Top Stories
US Demands Toyota Turn Over Recall Documents

WASHINGTON -- The government ordered Toyota to turn over documents related to its massive recalls Tuesday, pressing to see how long the automaker knew of safety defects before taking action. The Transportation Department is demanding that Toyota reveal when and how it learned of problems with sticking accelerators and with floor mats trappping gas pedals, and the company must respond within 30 to 60 days or face fines. (Transportation Secretary Ray) LaHood has said the government is considering civil penalties for Toyota over its handling of the recalls. The maximum fine is more than $16 million. Kathleen DeMeter, the director of NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation Enforcement, wrote that the agency was "seeking to determine whether Toyota viewed the underlying defects too narrowly ... without fully considering the broader issue of unintended acceleration and any associated safety-related defects that warrant recalls."

Congress is also investigating. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing on Feb. 24, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled one the next day. Toyota Motor North America chief executive Yoshi Inaba, LaHood and NHTSA Administrator David Strickland are expected to testify at both meetings. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has scheduled a March 2 hearing. Toyota has been fixing vehicles under recall. Toyota Vice President Bob Carter told reporters at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Orlando, Fla., on Monday that the company had repaired about 500,000 of the 2.3 million vehicles recalled over a potentially sticky gas pedal. Click here to see related NADA-TV report.
Source: The Associated Press

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Toyota May Lengthen Warranties to Keep Customers

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Toyota Motor Corp. may offer incentives or increase the length of its warranties as it tries to recover from an embarrassing string of safety-related recalls. The company has not decided exactly what it will do after it gets past the recalls, which include more than 8 million vehicles worldwide, for sticky gas pedals, floor mats that can snag the accelerator and a software glitch in the brakes of its Prius gas-electric hybrid, said Group Vice President Bob Carter. Carter told reporters at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in Orlando, Fla., that it is focused on repairing customer cars and restoring their faith in the brand, which has had a reputation for bulletproof reliability for years. Toyota already is offering zero percent financing for 60 months in some of its regions, as well as cash to dealers to help sweeten deals, and Carter said the company may do an incentive campaign once it gets through the recalls. "We'll be very confident that we will give our dealers a very good competitive program," said Don Esmond, Toyota's senior vice president for automotive operations in the U.S.

About 300 dealers met with Carter and Esmond Monday to talk about their business. Several said afterward that customers have the mistaken impression they are not selling cars because of publicity about Toyota stopping sales of models in the pedal recall. Toyota suspended sales of some of the eight U.S.-made models covered by the recall until dealers could fix them. But dealers are free to sell the cars once they are repaired. Carter says 88,000 of the 112,000 recalled cars on dealer lots have been repaired. He said the dealers have made customer repairs first, but have fixed their own cars during hours when customers are not seeking repairs. Click here to see related NADA-TV report.
Source: The Associated Press

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Toyota Probes Corolla Steering, Considers Recall

Toyota is considering a recall of its hot-selling Corolla subcompact after complaints about power steering problems — another blow to the world's largest automaker already reeling from a string of recalls for safety troubles. ... in an alarming disclosure that could widen Toyota's recall crisis, the executive in charge of quality controls, Shinichi Sasaki, said Toyota was taking seriously the complaints about power-steering problems in the Corolla, the world's best-selling car. He said it was still uncertain if a Corolla recall would be necessary, but it is an option the automaker is considering. He didn't disclose model years or regions that could be affected and said there have been fewer than 100 complaints. Toyota sold nearly 1.3 million Corolla cars worldwide last year. Click here to see related NADA-TV report.
Source: The Associated Press

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Dealers Will See More of NADA in 2010, Tonkin Says

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Dealers who questioned whether the National Automobile Dealers Association was doing enough last year will see the dealer group up close in 2010, said Ed Tonkin, who became NADA chairman (on Monday). “We have a new attitude that our agenda for NADA must be built from the bottom up, directly from dealer input,” he told the dealer group. In an interview before his speech, Tonkin said that means traveling to speak to individual dealers and to state and local groups. “We have to be out in front of them,” he said. Last year, NADA's actions weren't as visible as the leadership desired, said Tonkin, who was vice chairman in 2009. The association's leaders had to keep many meetings quiet for political reasons, and they spent much of their travel time in Detroit, New York or Washington. Click here to see related NADA-TV report.
Source: Automotive News

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Pickens: Energy Independence Starts with Natural Gas in Big Trucks

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Powering heavy trucks with natural gas is the first step in U.S. energy independence, Texas oil and gas billionaire T. Boone Pickens told a gathering of the nation's automobile dealers. Eventually, natural gas may become more popular in light vehicles, he said. Since 2008, Pickens has crusaded to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil by using renewable power and alternative fuels for vehicles. “I'm not here to sell the guys today on switching over to natural gas” for light vehicles, Pickens told reporters Monday before his speech to the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here. But once refueling stations exist across the United States for heavy vehicles, natural gas may catch on in cars and light trucks, he said. Pickens drives a Honda Civic powered by natural gas. But the U.S. energy solution for cars and light trucks also may be electric powertrains, he said. “We've got to make sure that we don't get off Saudi oil and end up with a Chinese battery,” he told the NADA audience. Click here to see related NADA-TV report.
Source: Automotive News

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Car Dealers Revved Up

Locals excited about signs of sales rebound
As the National Automobile Dealers Association concludes its major convention in Orlando this week, auto dealers across Brevard said in interviews Tuesday that they are optimistic about the coming year, starting with January. "The challenge for Ford dealers is inventory and getting enough of it," Joe Persichetti, general sales manager of Paradise Ford in Cocoa, said. "We seem to have more customers than inventory." "All our (recalled) cars on the lot are done," Bill Kennedy, general manager of Mike Erdman Toyota on Merritt Island, said. "As soon as the people have been getting their (recall) letters, they're contacting us, and we're getting them in and out with no trouble. The recall repairs are very simple." January wasn't bad, Kennedy said. "We've have the best month since Cash for Clunkers," he added.
Source: FLORIDA TODAY

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Quotable
 
"We're a quality brand and we stumbled. It's our fault. We'll correct it."

   
-- Don Esmond, Toyota's senior vice president for U.S. automotive operations, apologized Monday to dealers for the recalls at a meeting during the NADA convention in Orlando, Fla., The Associated Press, Feb. 15


"We've got to make sure that we don't get off Saudi oil and end up with a Chinese battery."

   
-- Texas oil and gas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, addressing the general session Monday at the NADA convention in Orlando, Fla., Automotive News, Feb. 16

Video Highlights
 

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NADA-TV: Exclusive Interview with GM's Susan Docherty, VP Sales, Service & Marketing


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2010 Convention
 

CLICK HERE for Convention News on NADAFrontPage.com.


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