Tag Archive | "Toyota"

Group 1 ‘Won’t Be Deterred’ from Buying Toyota Stores

Despite a spat over an acquisition attempt this summer, Group 1 Automotive Inc. still wants to add Toyota stores to its network, Automotive News reported.

“If we find a Toyota dealership that meets our requirements, we won’t be deterred,” Group 1 CEO Earl Hesterberg said.

Acquisitions are how Group 1 executives would prefer to invest the company’s cash and grow, Hesterberg said. But no deals for a dealership representing any brand are under contract at the time. Though a “significant number” of dealerships are available for sale, Group 1 hasn’t found anything recently that meets its return-on-investment criteria, he said.

In late June, Group 1’s attempt to buy Gene Reed Toyota-Scion and Lexus of Charleston was blocked after Toyota filed a lawsuit objecting to the sale because Toyota had not approved the deal. But Gene Reed quickly came to an agreement to sell the dealerships to another buyer, and Toyota dropped the lawsuit.

Group 1, the nation’s fourth-largest dealership group, hasn’t had any further discussions with Toyota on acquisitions since the Gene Reed deal was rejected, Hesterberg said this week.

“But, by the same token, we didn’t have the chance to defend ourselves in court because the seller got a $5 or $10 million better offer within a day,” he said. “So we didn’t get a chance to prevail in court, which we believe we would have.”

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Honda Odyssey Owners Report Transmission Troubles, Inconsistent Response from Maker

Toyota vehicles are dominating headlines lately with recalls and rebuttals, but just as annoying to Honda Odyssey owners are the transmission problems they are experiencing – problems some owners believe Honda is unwilling to acknowledge or address, Edmunds Auto Observer reported.

Since October 2006, members of Edmunds’ CarSpace Forums have contributed more than 1,400 individual posts to a thread called Honda Odyssey Transmission Problems that details not only their Odyssey transmission issues but also the action – or inaction – they’ve seen from Honda dealers and parent company, American Honda, in response.

Owners of some 2007 and newer models are reporting a distinct “judder” from their Odysseys when driving between 20 and 45 mph — an issue that Honda addressed in a 2009 technical service bulletin and is repairing under warranty. However, by far the largest group of transmission complaints involves Odysseys from model years 1999 through 2004.

According to Edmunds.com’s recent analysis of complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), consumers cited transmission-related problems with 2001 through 2004 Odysseys more than five times as often as they did for the Toyota Sienna or the Chrysler Group’s Caravan, Grand Caravan and Town and Country minivans during the same model years.

In the typical experience, drivers of these Odysseys notice erratic shifting, a flashing “D” light in the gauge cluster and sometimes the illumination of the traction control light and/or the check engine light. One owner describes it as a rather harrowing experience: “It gave us just a few minutes of funny noises and then locked up. It was a very curvy road, hilly road — a dangerous and scary place to have a car just stop. We were lucky we weren’t rear-ended at high speeds.”

Dozens of different owners report repeat failures of the transmission, some coming as soon as 30,000 miles after a complete replacement of the unit.

Honda spokesman Chris Martin told AutoObserver.com the automaker believes the percentage of a second transmission failure versus the high volume of Odyssey models sold is likely relatively small.

Martin said the customer has the option — and should exercise that option — to request financial assistance — “goodwill” from the dealer or from Honda directly — for a fix.

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Auction Companies Stop Selling Toyotas; Rental Fleets Park Cars

DETROIT – The largest used-vehicle auto auction association in the United States today recommended that its member auctions temporarily stop selling Toyota cars and trucks that are being recalled because of sticking accelerator pedals, reported Automotive News.

In addition, several major car-rental companies temporarily have removed the vehicles from their fleets, as fallout from the massive recall spreads.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our utmost priority, and in that regard, the suspension should continue until the issues have been resolved,” the National Auto Auction Association said in a statement. Manheim, the nation’s largest auction company, said it is complying with the recommendation of NAAA and immediately halted sales of the recalled Toyota vehicles at its 81 auction sites in the United States and Canada and on its OVE.com electronic sales channel.

Auction company ADESA Inc. said it, too, has halted sales of recalled vehicles. ADESA is the second-largest auction company in the United States, with about one-fifth of the market.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. instructed its franchised dealers on Tuesday not to deliver the affected cars to customers.

On Tuesday, Toyota said it would halt sales and temporarily suspend production of 2.3 million U.S. vehicles recalled last week for sticking accelerator pedals.

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Regulators Investigate Toyota Engine Stall Claims

Federal regulators are investigating complaints of engine stalling on certain Toyota Corolla and Matrix models, the latest in a series of safety issues faced by the Japanese automaker.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received 26 complaints of engine stalling on 2006 Corollas and Matrixes equipped with 1ZZ-FE engines. Some complaints say vehicles stall randomly while driving, including some on highways and in intersections.

Toyota spokesman John Hanson says Toyota is complying with the government’s request for information from the automaker.

The investigation follows Toyota’s largest recall ever earlier this year in which it agreed to replace the gas pedals on 4 million vehicles.

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Toyota Recall Leaves Dealers Scrambling

Toyota retailers were caught off guard by a decision to recall 3.8 million vehicles linked to incidents of sudden acceleration. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. told dealers of the campaign today – after it was announced to the public. The timing has led to some confusion, according to reports by Ward’s Dealer Business.

“We haven’t received any notification,” said Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Bay, FL. “This has been one of the most confusing situations to the dealers and customers, and a little embarrassing.”

Bob Moran, owner of Acton Toyota in Littleton, MA, told Ward’s that he, too, was not told of the situation until an announcement already was made.

Normally, Toyota would notify its dealers first. But given the severity of the situation, there was no time to do so, a spokesman says.

“We thought this was important enough to get out early,” Bryan Lyons says, noting all dealers now should be informed about the recall.

Under conditions of the recall, dealers will be trained and receive the necessary components to trim three-quarters of an inch off the accelerator pedals.

Additionally, dealers will receive instructions on how to reconfigure floors in the Toyota ’07-’10 Camry, ’05-’10 Avalon and ’07-’10 Lexus ES, says spokesman John Hanson, noting all models implicated in the recall eventually will be eligible for footwell modifications.

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