GM to Announce New Incentives Aimed at Lexus and Toyota Owners

General Motors Company has announced a new month-long incentive program aimed at Toyota customers affected by that automaker’s recent recall of some 2.3 million vehicles to fix faulty throttle pedal mechanisms.

GM spokesman Tom Henderson said the new incentive program is being launched in response to the thousands of inquiries the company’s dealers and employees have received from Toyota owners seeking help.

He said the incentive program will run through February and will offer Lexus and Toyota owners a choice of three options.

For those who choose to lease a GM product, the automaker is offering to waive their first three monthly payments up to a total of $1,000.

Qualifying buyers who are financing their new purchase can opt for special 0% financing for up to 60 months.

For cash buyers who choose to pay for their new purchase outright instead of financing, GM is offering a $1,000 reduction in the purchase price.

Henderson said the incentives will be available on all Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC vehicles.

He said the move is designed to compensate Toyota owners for a portion of the trade-in value their vehicles have lost as a result of the recall. When something like this happens, Henderson said, probably the consumer’s biggest concern is, ˜What has happened to the value of the used car?’

Included in the 2.3 million vehicles recalled by Toyota last week is the Pontiac Vibe which is a sibling model of the Toyota Matrix. Both vehicles were manufactured at the same facilities in California under the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) joint partnership between Toyota and GM.

The NUMMI venture was dissolved last year, and on Monday GM spokesman Alan Adler said there are only 1,300 Vibes still in North America. Of those 1,300, the vast majority, Adler said, are in Canada. He said only six units are in the U.S., and of those, four have been technically sold but could not say whether the buyers had taken delivery or if the vehicles were still on dealers’ lots. The two remaining Vibes will not be sold until they have been repaired, he said.

Adler went on to say that GM is expecting Toyota to pick up the tab for replacing the defective accelerator pedal mechanisms and said the company’s Buick-GM dealers are awaiting instructions on how to repair the Vibe models.

Adler said, Ultimately, GM dealers would fix Pontiac vehicles, but it’s up to Toyota to provide the remedy. The NUMMI plant was a joint venture. However, the design, engineering and manufacturing of the product was Toyota’s. He added that once Toyota has provided a remedy, GM dealers will contact Vibe owners.

Adler also said that Toyota has added 2009 and 2010 Vibes to its list of recalled vehicles to fix defective floor mats which have reportedly caused accelerator pedals to become trapped, resulting in unintentional acceleration that has led to a number of accidents including fatality crashes. Adler said that recall will include 99,293 Vibes in Canada and the U.S.

Although no other automaker has announced incentive programs aimed at Toyota customers, some appear to be keeping their options open.

Ford Motor Company appears intent on remaining above the fray. “We have not changed our focus, which is to provide all customers with products they want and value. It is through the strength of our new products — with leading quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value — that we have been and will continue to attract new customers,” said Ford spokesman Robert Parker.

Chrysler spokeswoman Kathy Graham said, “We’re not doing anything to target Toyota customers at this time. Our focus has been on getting the word out to consumers that the new company has great vehicles with cool features and making sure we’re building our brands and letting customers know. Nothing has changed.”

Hyundai spokesman Chris Hosford was somewhat noncommittal on the matter. Although he said the South Korean automaker is not currently considering following GM’s lead he added, Every day in the car business is new. Tomorrow, we could see something that changes the situation.

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