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In early February, Toyota began recalling 2.3 million vehicles across the United States, due to problems with sticky accelerator pedals. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann talked with local Toyota dealerships, to see how this recall is affecting them.
Local dealerships have reported that their service departments are swamped as customers come in for the necessary recall repairs. Many dealerships are open extended hours to accommodate the necessary repairs along with regular maintenance appointments.
There are currently two types of recall repairs, depending on the particular model. Tony Stubblefield is the managing partner of Reliable Toyota in Springfield.
"One [recall] is a little more detailed than the other. For that [particular] one we are re-shaping the gas peddle, as well as re-programing the car's software with a brake override. If[a driver]would accidentally hit the throttle and the brake simultaneously, the brake overrides the throttle cutting offfuel offto the engine. So, depending on what car it isdetermines which type of recall it needs. Some are getting both, and we do those at the same time." said Stubblefield.
Several local dealerships have estimated that between 25% and 50% of their affected customers have already completed the necessary repairs, and that the biggest wave of the recall may be over.
According to local Toyota dealerships, sales appear to be returning to normal after taking a dip. Magness Toyota in Harrison, Arkansas even reported a 15% increase in sales over this time last year.
Mitts Thomas is the service manager for Toyota of West Plains, and says that their customers continue to stay loyal to the Toyota name. He says customers have been citing other reasons behind all of the recent negative attention that Toyota has been getting.
"Well, most of them think it is political, since Toyota wasn't involved in the bail-out. Everybody [customers]seems to still be satisfied. Many customers will come in for repairs,and will go up front and trade for a new one [Toyota]while they are here." said Thomas.
Used car dealerships in the Ozarks also said they still have people coming in looking for Toyotas. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.