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Recently, General Motors has been offering special buying incentives specifically tailored to steer people away from Toyota and Lexus dealerships, and even get current Toyota owners out of their cars. And while most people look at this as just a clever marketing technique to promote other automakers in the wake of Toyota's recall wound, a group of dealers are none too happy about the marketing campaign. What's more, because the U.S. government currently owns a 60 percent stake in GM, Toyota dealers have made accusations that American taxpayer dollars are being used to fund these incentives.

The Toyota National Dealer Council, which represents approximately 1,250 Toyota dealers across the United States, claims that using taxpayer dollars for this purpose is "reckless, unfair and detrimental to the entire auto industry." And while we believe it's a potentially rational argument for the TNDC to make, we must remember that no specific evidence has been presented to completely prove their point. GM may be mostly owned by the U.S. government, but it's still an autonomous company, and no one can say for sure if its marketing decisions are, in any way, influenced by the officials in Washington, D.C. Hit the jump to read the entire TNDC press release.

[Source: Toyota National Dealer Council | Image: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images]
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Toyota Dealers: "Their targeting of our customers using taxpayer dollars is reckless, unfair, and detrimental to the entire auto industry, and to the country."

March 9, 2010 – Today, Toyota dealers across the country are speaking out against General Motors using taxpayer dollars to fund unfair tactics that undermine their businesses. Last week, General Motors launched a nationwide predatory advertising campaign that uses fear in an attempt to lure customers away from Toyota and Lexus dealers.

"Toyota dealers across the country are business owners who stimulate local economies and pay taxes to the government," said Paul Atkinson, President of the Toyota National Dealer Council and owner of Atkinson Toyota in Texas. "It is outrageous that GM is using our taxpayer dollars against us, making me and other Toyota dealers pay to undermine our own businesses."

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. government owns 60 percent of the equity in General Motors.

"These incentives fail to take into account that, despite some recent problems, Toyota still makes some of the best cars, trucks and SUVs on the road in America," Atkinson continued. "These low-blow tactics pose a real threat to the citizens of the United States if the government lets these slip by."

Last week, Toyota executives wrapped up congressional testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and, most recently, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation.

"In open and honest testimony before Congress, Toyota executives clearly demonstrated that Toyota is committed to working with regulators to ensure the safety of American drivers," said Atkinson. "It is time for the U.S. government to stop funding these predatory incentives that discourage fellow American citizens from doing business with me. GM said it themselves, 'May the best car win.'"

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sour grapes

      Considering Toyota is an extension of the Japanese government and received "substantial support" recently (gift money, not loans); it is not even logical.

      Anyway, Toyota did the same thing when GM was in bankrupsy.

      More interesting though .. is that Toyota must be actually seeing people moving back to GM and Ford. I thought it would have little effect, except for people who were buying GM or Ford anyway.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota has to learn that the money from our government to GM is a LOAN. In Japan their government has done this many times. That's how they monopolize many industries.

      I'm sick and tired of hearing how we are screwing Toyota!! Our automotive industries have suffered from such recalls in the past and I don't remember them crying like Toyota.

      • 5 Years Ago
      The Toyota dealers should take a cup of concrete and Harden up

      Because they of all people should know that Marketing and advertising is full of misleading statements etc about their products in comparison to their rivals.. and that companies take any chance that they can get to get one over on their rivals

      For years Toyota and their fans have gone on about how their cars are supposedly more reliable and have less recalls than Ford or GM,,,, now the tables have turned and Toyota obviously don't like it.. suffer in your jocks.

      Not only that but Toyota has been using money from the Japanese Govt in an attempt to steer people away from GM and Ford dealerships - and get them to buy a Prius

      • 5 Years Ago
      GM doesn't sell enough cars for enough money to have it's own cash so it has to be taxpayer money GM is using to beat on Toyota.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am so sick of this argument that Toyota is more American than the Big 3. Yeah, some big 3 cars are built outside of the US, but a ton are still built here with more domestic parts (on average) than the foreign companies.

      Case in point, the Hyundai Sonata has 43% domestic parts, the Honda CRV has 10% domestic parts, the Corolla has 50% domestic parts... and then there's the Malibu with 85% domestic parts.

      Here's what cars.com has to say about it:
      "it's hard to deny that among the most popular U.S.-built cars and trucks, the models with the highest domestic content ratings come from Detroit automakers. Of the 35 most popular U.S.-built 2008 and 2009 models — based on sales through May 31, 2008 — 43 percent of GM, Ford and Chrysler contenders had domestic content ratings of 75 percent or higher. In comparison, just 25 percent of the Nissan, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota models on the list achieved that."

      Add in the fact that the Big 3 employ more white collar employees in the US than all other automakers combined and it's easy to see that Toyota (along with other foreign companies) is definitely not as American as GM.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well worth the double post.
        You are one of the few that get it.

        Thank you, alex!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota dealers.. suck on it! Buy American.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Toyotas are generally more American than GM vehicles, in terms of percentage of domestic part content.
        • 5 Years Ago
        “Toyotas are generally more American than GM vehicles, in terms of percentage of domestic part content.”

        That is not true! Hope the raid at Denso Corp., Yazaki and Tokai Rika auto parts suppliers uncovers the dirt on Toyota. Those names sound domestic to me…

        What about when they build a plant in the US?
        Who supplies the tooling in the body shop? Japan
        What company builds the paint shop? Taikisha
        Who engineers the vehicle? Japan
        Where does the profit go? Japan
        • 5 Years Ago

        I have been saying this for awhile now as well. GM, Ford and Chrysler have been putting the screws to their suppliers for awhile now. In order for these guys to survive they have told the "big three" that out sourcing (China) of parts has to happen. A cruise control module or ABS/traction control module for example could have all its individual parts made in China and imported in pieces to the US. The parts are assembled here and placed in a box also made in the US. The part can be called a "made in the US" part if 51% of the cost of the part is done in the US, this includes transportation, labelling, assembly and packaging. For example you can purchase a jar of garlic with a label "made in the US" filled with Chinese garlic, as it's very expensive to grow garlic in the US and no one wants to pay $5.00 a jar. The jar, lid, label and processing of the garlic was done here but the garlic is all Chinese.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Leave it to Toyota to criticize "runaway spending". (sorry)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree with their argument in general, government money should stay out of profitable industries. Just build the damn roads, don't want to turn into Venezuela.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Your argument is feeble and ironic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Didnt they just get a bunch of money from the Goverment for cash for clunkers which they used to sell America bunch of Lemons.

        Fix your problems and stop crying.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly! I'm sure Toyota didn't mind using the same tactic when GM was having trouble. They need to suck it up and fix their problems. Obviously they would rather lie and hide the truth and complain that they are being attacked unfairly. BS! If it was the other way around they would say it's all business. Get over it Toyota. Take care of your customers and you'll have no reason to worry. Wait no. That would be the smart idea.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have two words for Toyota, and they're not "happy birthday"

        New on all Toyota, Scion and Lexus models: hands free calling. Just say "911" and you're connected. Your hands will be plenty busy as it is.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And how many tax dollars were used to lure Toyota, Honda, BMW, MB, et. al. to locate plants in some states? At lower wages? Competing against the Big 3?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Japan paid Toyota a bail out last year, but Japan has trade barrier upon trade barrier against foreign competition. Similar government actions have caused trade wars, but it just rolls off the backs of Americans.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dealer Association FAIL.

      GM's purpose is to sell cars and make money. As is Toyota's. And it currently seems like GM is doing a slightly better job, since Toyota dealers are protesting so much.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go get in line behind FedEx and UPS, pals. Every time you see that "if it fits, it ships" ad on TV, it's the US Government using taxpayer money to beat out UPS and FedEx.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Constitution only talks about the USPS in terms of letter delivery ("post"), while UPS and FedEx ship parcels. The commercials I spoke of aren't for letter delivery, they are for the USPS parcel service.

        And I don't see where the Toyota dealers said "if it were in the Constitution, we wouldn't be complaining", so really what does this have to do with the argument?

        The USPS is outside the budget, but often runs deficits, so they are funded publicly.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Not publicly funded, yet Congress still gets to micro-manage the USPS's every business decision, no less.
        • 5 Years Ago
        yeah, except the existence of the USPS is explicitly codified in the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, mind you, not an amendment) and hasn't been publicly funded since the early 1980s.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its hard to feel sorry for Toyota dealers when only 19,800 American cars were imported to Japan. Japan is not a free market to us but we have been to them. Maybe if the CEO had not fumbled the recall in the first place then you would not be hurting so bad.
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