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Last 7 Days

by Tim Beissmann

Following the lead of General Motors, Ford US has introduced an even more aggressive incentive program to encourage Japanese car buyers to abandon their brands in the wake of Toyota’s accelerator recall issues.

From today until March 1, Ford is offering US$1000 rebates to owners of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles as well as Honda and Acura cars made within the last 15 years.

Ford said Honda was included in the incentives not over any quality or safety concerns but because Toyota owners are likely to consider Hondas as a replacement.

The rebate is also available to customers who are currently leasing Toyota or Honda vehicles with a contract expiring by June 30.

The incentive program applies to all Ford vehicles excluding Ford hybrids, Edge all-wheel drive SE, F-150 Raptor, Taurus SE, Shelby GT500 and KR versions of the Mustang.

Honda and Nissan have confirmed that they will not be introducing any incentive programs like GM and Ford, while Chrysler has said it does not currently have any plans to do so.

Ford itself has not been entirely immune from the accelerator issues that have plagued Toyota, yesterday being forced to suspend production of its Transit Classic commercial van in China.

Ford has produced 1663 vehicles for the Chinese market with CTS Corp pedals (the company responsible for the defective Toyota accelerators) since supply began in December. So far it remains unclear how many vans have been delivered to dealers and customers.

Ford confirmed that CTS does not supply pedals for any of its other vehicles.

Meanwhile, Toyota yesterday extended its floor mat recall to another 1.1 million vehicles in the US, taking the total number up to approximately 5.4 million.

The latest recall includes the 2008-2010 Highlander and 2009-2010 Corolla, Venza, Matrix and Pontiac Vibe.

It is still assessing whether it will recall up to two million more vehicles in Europe also believed to be affected by the sticking accelerator malfunction.