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Auction group tells members not to sell Toyotas; rental fleets park cars

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Auction group tells members not to sell Toyotas; rental fleets park cars

Arlena Sawyers

Automotive News -- January 28, 2010 - 2:04 pm ET

DETROIT -- The largest used-vehicle auto auction association in the United States today recommended that its member auctions temporarily stop selling Toyota cars and trucks that are being recalled because of sticking accelerator pedals.

In addition, several major car-rental companies temporarily have removed the vehicles from their fleets, as fallout from the massive recall spreads.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our utmost priority, and in that regard, the suspension should continue until the issues have been resolved,” the National Auto Auction Association said in a statement. Manheim, the nation's largest auction company, said it is complying with the recommendation of NAAA and immediately halted sales of the recalled Toyota vehicles at its 81 auction sites in the United States and Canada and on its OVE.com electronic sales channel.

“We are committed to supporting Toyota during this challenging time,” the company said in a statement.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. has instructed its franchised dealers not to deliver the affected cars to customers.

On Tuesday, Toyota said it would halt sales and temporarily suspend production of 2.3 million U.S. vehicles recalled last week for sticking accelerator pedals.

Separately, Toyota yesterday said it would recall an additional 1.1 million autos in the United States to fix floor mats that may jam accelerator pedals and cause unintended acceleration. The action is an extension of last fall's recall, in which the world's largest automaker called back 4.3 million vehicles in its largest-ever U.S. safety action.

The accelerator-pedal problem is separate from the floor mat problem, although both may result in vehicles accelerating unintentionally out of a driver's control.

Hertz halts

Hertz CEO Mark Frissora said the company temporarily will stop renting vehicles covered in the recall. “We are taking action so there can be no question about the safety of our customers and the cars we rent,” Frissora said in a statement.

Enterprise Holdings -- which operates Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental -- has removed recalled Toyota vehicles and Pontiac Vibes from its fleets. Enterprise Holdings owns and operates a fleet of about 1 million vehicles. The recalled vehicles represent about 4 percent of the company's rental fleet.

Avis Budget Group Inc. said it is removing about 20,000 of the affected Toyota vehicles from its fleet. The company operates Avis Rent A Car System and Budget Rent A Car.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. said affected Toyota vehicles make up less than 1.5 percent of its roughly 100,000-vehicle fleet. “We do not have any significant Toyotas on order and do not believe any changes in Toyota residual values resulting from the recall will be material to our overall fleet cost,” Dollar Thrifty CEO Scott Thompson said in a statement.

The company operates Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental.

CarMax suspends sales

Today, used-car retailer CarMax Inc. said it was suspending sales of new and used Toyota vehicles included in the recall.

In a statement, CarMax said it is “following Toyota's instructions, and vehicles covered by the Jan. 21st recall will currently not be available for sale.” CarMax operates one franchise Toyota store in Laurel, Md., and sells used Toyotas at its 100 used-car locations.

Affected by the pedal recall are the 2007-10 Camry, 2005-10 Avalon; 2007-10 Tundra; 2008-10 Sequoia and Highlander; and 2009-10 RAV4, Venza, Corolla and Matrix.

The action also covers 2009-10 Pontiac Vibes made by Toyota in a joint venture with General Motors Co., New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100128/RETAIL/100129852/1290#ixzz0dwAzWHue

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