March 10, 2010

Lucid Links (031010, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:57 am

“Be careful what you wish for” follow-upOn Monday, in the first Lucid Links item, I suggested that Toyota was “playing possum” and that its move to aggressive 0%, 60-month financing and other incentives will cause its March sales to “bounce back to about where they were before its recall issues hit, and that a certain pair of formerly proud automakers that are now wards of the state will be the ones most severely hurt by the resurgence.”

Well, it look like there’s a very good chance I will be wrong about the first half of that prediction, as you can see from this AP report (bold is mine):

A high-ranking Toyota executive says the auto company’s North American sales spiked around 50 percent the first eight days of March as incentives helped lure customers after a series of embarrassing safety recalls.

Don Esmond, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, said in an interview Tuesday that the early numbers surpassed the company’s expectations. Esmond, who was speaking at a conference for Toyota suppliers, didn’t give detailed figures.

Though I can’t tell whether Mr. Esmond is referring to a March vs. February or year-over-year comparison, it shows that what has for weeks had all the appearances of an orchestrated strategy to take down Toyota, with the all too willing cooperation of establishment press apparatchiks, is backfiring big time. If so, sweeeeet.

Perhaps the AP should try to find people who say they’ve switched to Toyota from Chrysler or GM because of the recent actions of what Michael Barone first called “Gangster Government” (uppercased) in May of last year. I’ll bet they’re out there.

As to the second half of that Monday prediction, if GM and Chrysler are indeed damaged by a continuation of what we’ve seen during the first eight days of March, “… it couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.”

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Good for them — Toyota dealers strike back, with a very serious allegation evidencing the orchestration referred to in the previous item (bolds are mine):

Toyota Dealers Fight Back Against “Predatory Tactics” by GM
Say they’re upset that their tax money is being used to lure away their customers

The head of the Toyota National Dealer Council today blasted the federal government for using ‘taxpayer dollars’ to fund incentive campaigns to lure customers away from Toyota, and accused GM of using ‘fear’ in an attempt to lure away its customers, 1200 WOAI news reports.

“As an American citizen, it is tough on my part to pay tax dollars to an entity that can turn around and use those tax dollars to get my fellow American citizens to not do business with me,” Paul Atkinson, who owns Atkinson Toyota in Bryan Texas, and is President of the dealer council, tells 1200 WOAI news.

…. “There are some mailing lists which have been given to dealers, and there have been some mailers, in fact, I’ve seen several of them,” he said. “On the outside of the envelope it says ‘important Toyota recall information enclosed.’ But when you open up that envelope, it is nothing more than an advertisement trying to get you to come trade your Toyota in at a GM store.”

Atkinson calls those ‘predatory incentives,’ which he says should not be allowed to be employed by a company which is majority owned by US taxpayers against another company which employs hundreds of thousands of Americans.

… Atkinson also suggested that the recent Congressional hearings and federal government concern over Toyota’s accelerator problems may have been sparked less by a desire to protect the public, and more by a desire to protect the federal government’s investment in GM.

“There is a list of twenty manufacturers on these recall lists, and Toyota is number 17,” he said. “If we’re having hearings on number 17, what are they doing about numbers 1 through 16?”

If the apparatchik press were interested in a tiny bit of redemption, it would follow up on Atkinson’s assertions. Don’t hold your breath.

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“Beijing vows not to use U.S. debt for political gain.” How (not) reassuring that our continued economic well-being depends on the continued forbearance of a communist state. The mere prospect affects geopolitical calculations, and not favorably.

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4 Comments

  1. No offense but I can’t believe anyone is crazy enough to buy new cars from a dealer right now in this economy. Considering that a healthy chunk of 2010 Cash 4 Clunkers cars have already been repossessed (i.e. repofinder.com) why not just go to local banks and credit unions and buy these repo cars back for half the retail price? If you’re going to buy junk at least don’t over pay.

    Comment by Mike — March 10, 2010 @ 10:15 am

  2. #1, your link is to the site’s home page. Do you have a link to a real article tying c4c to increased auto repo activity?

    Comment by TBlumer — March 10, 2010 @ 10:45 am

  3. I predict that most of these “sudden accelerations” are going to end up being hoaxes used to deflect responsibility in insurance claims and moving violations–i.e. the automotive equivalent of “The Twinkie Defense.” This also has the familiar ring of the Audi 5000 scare by 60 Minutes in the 80s. ( http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cjm_18.htm )

    Lawyers will milk this for billions like they did with silicone breast implants causing unverifiable (read: non-existent) “autoimmune diseases” that ended up being an excuse by female patients’ for their underlying psychiatric illnesses.

    Comment by Joe C. — March 10, 2010 @ 10:51 am

  4. #3, thx. Have been meaning to mention the Audi saga.

    Comment by TBlumer — March 10, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

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