TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: Today, Toyota dealers start getting the fix for gas pedal issues it has with millions of its cars and trucks. We’re also gonna get an idea of the toll this latest recall has taken on sales for Toyota. January figures for all the car makers are due out today, and they’re expected to fall for the 14th straight month. A preview this morning from Marketplace’s Amy Scott, who joins us live from our New York bureau. Good morning, Amy.
Amy Scott: Good morning, Steve.
Chiotakis: So, what are the expectations here of how this gas pedal issue is going to affect sales for Toyota?
Scott: Well it is expected to make a dent, mostly because Toyota stopped selling eight of its most popular models last week because of those faulty gas pedals. I talked with analyst Erik Merkle with autoconomy.com about the sales figures coming out today. He says Toyota is probably going to take what he called “a pretty massive hit.”
Erik Merkle: But I want to see who actually gains as a result. Because it’s my expectation that Honda will probably be the largest beneficiary. And we could actually see some of the sales going to GM and Ford as well.
Scott: Amy, those companies are trying to lure Toyota customers with these extra incentives, right?
Scott: Right, but Honda hasn’t yet. And Merkle says there’s so much overlap between Honda and Toyota customers that Honda probably doesn’t have to offer these sorts of incentives. Toyota is, as you said, starting to fix the recalled cars this week. It will restart production of those eight models next week. But these repairs are expected to take months, so it may be February and March sales that really tell us how much this has damaged the brand.
Chiotakis: We shall see. Marketplace’s Amy Scott reporting LIVE from New York. Amy, thanks.
Scott: You’re welcome.
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