Toyota rivals have stopped short of a hard sell on safety

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 25, 2010

The rivals of Toyota Motor Corp. may be eyeing disgruntled customers but they're still hesitating to resort to overt marketing to lure them in. For instance, no carmaker has put an emphasis on its safety features.

Right after Toyota ordered the sales freeze on eight of its models due to problems of unintended acceleration, General Motors Co. offered incentives to Toyota and Lexus owners to buy a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac.

The offers are valid through February and they range from $1,000 off the purchase price to 0% financing for up to 60 months. What GM didn't do was advertise that its cars have brakes that override or overpower the accelerator, avoiding unintended acceleration altogether.

Ford Motor Co. offered $1,000 rebates to Toyota, Lexus and Scion owners, as well as Honda and Acura. Ford's marketing team was advised to stick to its product-focused message and commitment to environmental technology. It can be recalled that last year, Toyota did not do any overt marketing to attract customers of GM and Chrysler during their bankruptcies.

It was GM's choice not to put emphasis on its brake overrides but its dealerships may not be so keen on the idea. Chris Haydocy, who owns two GM stores in central Ohio, said that he has informed potential buyers about the systems.

He told consumers that with a GM car, if the accelerator and brake are pressed at the same time, the brake wins 100% of the time. He says that he doesn't advertise it but it does add a lot of value.

Topics: toyota, sales, safety

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