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Toyota dealers making best of a sour deal

Feb. 15, 2010 at 5:49 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Toyota dealers at a national convention in Orlando, Fla., put a positive spin on the recall issues that dropped the automaker's January sales by 16 percent.

Mike Jackson, chief executive officer of AutoNation Inc., said dealerships would recover their sales losses with gains in repairing as many as 2.3 million cars, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday.

After a late meeting at the convention, Chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association John McEleney said Toyota was looking at "a number of opportunities," including increasing warranties, to boost sales and restore trust among customers, CNNMoney.com reported.

About 500,000 Toyotas have been repaired, which dealers said would reintroduce customers to dealership service departments, a possible gain for business.

"That's not the way we want to make our money but we're getting to see some people that we wouldn't normally get to see in our service drive," said St. Louis dealership owner Kent Newbold.

In seeking to regain trust, "nothing is finalized yet," McEleney said, but several bumps in the road are expected.

Toyota faces congressional inquiries with hearings on the recalls scheduled for Feb. 24 before the House Oversight Committee and Feb. 25 before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In addition, Toyota recalled 8,000 2010 Tacoma trucks during the weekend, adding to a string of massive recalls that began in November.

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