Nissan, at least in one dealership in Florida, has joined nationwide efforts by General Motors Co., and Ford Motor Co., to persuade potential buyers away from embattled Toyota with incentives and some tactics viewed as objectionable.
General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. announced sales incentives in January aimed at luring Toyota customers to trade in their cars for a GM or Ford vehicle.
But in Riviera Beach, Fla., Napleton’s Nissan, according to an article in the Palm Beach Post, is sending Toyota owners an official-looking mailing urging them not to make their next car payment and instead trade in their car.
The letters are sent in envelopes marked with “TOYOTA RECALL NOTICE” in red, uppercase block letters, according to the newspaper.
“Why spend another day driving a potentially unsafe vehicle while you wait for a correction remedy?” the letter reads, before saying the customer’s car qualifies for the Buyout Program the dealership is offering.
The letter is signed by Napleton’s General Sales Manager Bret Macy, who the newspaper could not reach for comment.
“It was very simply that we had dealers all over the country saying that a lot of Toyota customers were coming to them wanting to trade in their vehicles,” said Tom Henderson, a GM spokesman.
Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota in Lake Park, told the newspaper Napleton Nissan’s letters targeted Toyota customers whose car model year wasn’t part of the recall.
“My dealership, and many Toyota dealers across the nation, have done everything possible to be honest with our customers and do everything within our power to resolve these issues quickly,” Stewart said. “We have people calling our dealership who are now confused whether their vehicle is in the recall.”
Bob Carter, Toyota Division vice president, objected to the tactics of some of Toyota’s rivals and pointed out during the Chicago Auto Show last week Toyota did not do “conquest marketing” when General Motors and Chrysler were in bankruptcy last year, according to a story by Automotive News.
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Article Last Updated: February 17, 2010.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.