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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Toyota pulls ads from US TV network: report

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Toyota pulls ads from US TV network: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Toyota dealers in five southeastern US states have pulled their ads from local ABC television affiliates over complaints about coverage of the automaker's recalls, the network said Monday.

The advertising agency representing the 173 dealers told the affiliates last week that the move was prompted by "excessive stories on the Toyota issues," ABC News said on its website. The decision only affected local advertising.

The Japanese giant, whose brand has long been synonymous with safety and quality, is facing scrutiny over accelerator problems that prompted recalls of over eight million vehicles worldwide and have tarnished the company's reputation for reliability.

Toyota is also bracing for deeper woes this week when it is expected to recall as many as 300,000 Prius hybrid vehicles because of a separate problem with the braking system.

The dealers, known collectively as Southeast Toyota, shifted their commercial spots to non-ABC stations in the same US markets "as punishment for the reporting," ABC quoted an unnamed station manager as saying.

During a series of stories preceding the massive recalls ordered by Toyota last month, ABC reported on the accelerator issues and what it called "apologies for quality shortcomings as well as misstatements about the extent of the defects."

The network's reporting on the sudden acceleration issues pointed to how explanations from Toyota did not match the experiences of drivers it profiled.

"We've been aggressively covering this story from the moment last November when (investigative correspondent) Brian Ross broke many of these details about questions over what was going on with various Toyota vehicles," ABC News senior vice president Jeff Schneider told AFP.

The carmaker is also facing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of owners in the United States alleging that it hid problems that have led to the rash of recalls.

Marcia Owens-Reder, senior vice-president of 22Squared, an Atlanta advertising agency for Toyota Southeast, said she had "tried" to talk the dealers out of the move, ABC said.

"We have counselled the client on the pros and cons of this, and ultimately it was their decision to make," the agency said in an e-mail sent to the television stations last week.

"Please let me know the earliest that we can get off the air on your station."

A spokesman for 22 Squared declined comment, referring questions to Toyota.

Southeast Toyota represents dealers in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. Together, they account for 20 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold in the United States.

link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100208/bs_afp/japanusautorecallcompanytoyotaadvertising

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The truth hurts, poor babies. I'm sure other dealers will be happy to advertise in their place. Morons.

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