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GM offers $1,000 incentive to Toyota owners

byPeter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors is offering incentives of $1,000 and low financing rates specifically for Toyota customers worried about their recalled vehicles, beginning Wednesday.

"We decided to make this offer after receiving many e-mails and calls from our dealers, who have been approached by Toyota customers asking for help," GM said in a statement. The offers will run through the end of February.

2010 Chevrolet Equinox

GM is offering $1,000 rebates or up to $1,000 to help pay off current leases on Toyota products. The automaker is also offering 0% financing on most models for Toyota customers. The offers apply to 2009 and 2010 model year cars.

Such "conquest incentives" -- incentives targeted at owners of other manufacturers' vehicles -- are common in the industry, GM spokesman Tom Henderson said.

In this case, however, the incentives are designed to take advantage of Toyota owner's worries at a time when they're concerned about the safety and quality of their cars.

Toyota announced last week that it was recalling 2.3 million cars, SUVs and trucks for a problem with a potentially sticky gas pedal. This was after the company recalled 4.2 million vehicles -- many of them the same as last week's recall -- for a problem in which the gas pedal could become stuck on the floormat.

Toyota recently announced that will temporarily stop selling models affected by the most recent recall, including some of their most popular products like the Camry sedan and the Rav4 small SUV.

The problem plays to GM's current strengths, said James Bell, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com. Some of GM's strongest products, like the Chevrolet Malibu sedan and Chevrolet Equinox SUV, are strong competitors to products Toyota is now not selling.

"The Equinox is the obvious buy over a Rav4," he said.

If the Chevrolet dealers were still selling last year's Equinox, before the new, completely redesigned model was introduced, GM's position wouldn't have been as strong, he said. To top of page

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