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Bill Radke: Today the car companies report their sales numbers for January. So that's a look in the rear view mirror. It's the view up ahead that's not pretty for Toyota. Replacement parts for those faulty accelerator pedals could start arriving at dealers as early as today. As Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports the pedal problems and recalls have been tough on those dealers.
Mitchell Hartman: John McEleney's been busy lately, though not in a good way. He owns a Toyota dealership in Clinton, Iowa.
John McEleney: We've had probably more people than normal coming in, but obviously a lot of them are questions about their present vehicle, not to purchase another one.
McEleney's been talking to customers whose faith in Toyota is faltering.
McEleney: A young lady, 21 years old, just bought her first new car from us a few weeks ago, a new Toyota Camry. She was just very disturbed about this, and was her car safe, and did she make a good buy?
He told her the sticky gas-pedal problem's rare, and offered to check her car on the spot.
McEleney, who's also chairman of the National Auto Dealers Association, says dealers must get repairs done quickly to keep customers loyal.
McEleney predicts dealers can recover all their lost sales by the end of the year. That'd be good, because the hit to Toyota from repairs, idled production and liability is already estimated at over a billion dollars.
I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.