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Toyota Readying Big Discounts, Longer Warranties

Struggling maker will pitch deals to win back buyers.

by on Feb.15, 2010

Struggling to overcome the damage done by a series of safety problems and an expanding list of recalls, Toyota is expected to try to win back skeptical consumers with a bevy of new discounts, as well as extended warranties.

While final details have yet to be determined, the maker is running a variety of ideas past its American dealers, who have been gathered in Orlando, this weekend, for the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Traditionally, Toyota has shied away from big rebates and other incentives, but the maker has ramped up givebacks, in recent months, hoping to counter the impact of the ongoing American recession.  Now it could add$1,000 or more to its offerings, according to sources, in an effort to overcome growing concern about the safety, quality and reliability of its products.

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The maker also is reportedly considering longer warranties, perhaps matching the 10-year program offered by fast-rising rival Hyundai, of South Korea.  The programs would be launched by the beginning of March. And the new package could add free maintenance, as well.

“Toyota has got to be aggressive on this,” the Bloomberg news service quotes Mike Maroone, chief operating officer of AutoNation, the largest American automotive retailer. “Toyota has to put a wall around its customers.”