Embattled Toyota launches sales campaign in China

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Toyota said Friday it had started a sales blitz in China days after the company president apologised to drivers in the world's biggest car market for pulling 75,000 vehicles as part of its global recall.

Company president Akio Toyoda on Monday said sorry to Chinese consumers over the accelerator system defects, bowing before hundreds of journalists at a Beijing hotel.

The new sales drive includes interest-free loans for some models as well as roadside service and petrol coupons, company spokeswoman Wei Sun said in Tokyo.

She denied the campaign was triggered by Toyota's mass recall crisis, which saw it pull over eight million cars worldwide, and told AFP that the offers are "part of our spring campaign that was planned several months ago".

Wei stressed that Toyota's February sales in China were strong, rising 30 percent year on year, but conceded that "the number of people who visit our sales outlets is dropping a little bit".

"We hope this campaign will help motivate people to come to our outlets."

The promotional offers vary by model, she said.

For the Crown luxury sedan, "we will start zero-percent interest loans as well as 24-hour roadside service for two years for sales contracts made between March 10 and the end of April," she said.

For Camry cars, zero-percent financing started on March 1, she said.

Toyota will also offer an 88 yuan (13 dollar) petrol coupon for a test drive.

Toyota recalled 75,552 RAV4 SUVs in China due to faulty accelerators.

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