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Toyota Adding More Hybrids, Battery Cars – And Free Maintenance Plan – To Boost U.S. Sales

Japanese maker’s CEO meanwhile rallies American dealers.

by on Oct.07, 2010

The new Toyota Sienna -- and the rest of the 2011 Toyota and Scion line-up -- will now get free maintenance.

With U.S. sales in a slump despite the use of some of the largest cash incentives in its history, Toyota Motor Co. is taking a two-pronged approach to rebuilding momentum.

From Japan, the company has announced plans to add a number of new hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.  In Las Vegas, meanwhile, Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda is rallying the troops, telling 1,200 of its U.S. dealers that the automaker is committed to reversing the damage done by a year-long safety scandal.

Among other steps to boost demand, the maker has also announced it will offer American buyers a new, two-year, 25,000-mile free maintenance plan on all Toyota and Scion-branded products.

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Though it remains the largest automaker in the world, Toyota clearly is worried about the impact of a safety crisis that began almost exactly one year ago when it announced the first recall for so-called sudden acceleration.  Since then, more than 9 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide, the majority in the U.S.  And while the lion’s share are impacted by the sudden acceleration issue, the maker has faced an array of other problems, from excess corrosion on minivans to leaking hybrid fuel tanks.