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TOYOTA BLASTS DUMPING CHARGES

 TOYOTA BLASTS DUMPING CHARGES
 WASHINGTON, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Big Three, who hold more than


90 percent of the U.S. minivan market, charge that Toyota is "dumping" minivans in this country. A Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. executive told the International Trade Commission here today that the charge is "absurd and totally unfounded."
 "In 1991, the Big Three held an 88 percent share of the U.S. minivan market," George Borst, TMS vice president for strategic and product planning, told the commission. "Today they control 92 percent. That's a 4 percent increase in just four months. It's a leap of faith to conclude we're injuring the domestic industry.
 "The real intention behind this issue is the Big Three's desire to create a domestic monopoly," Borst said. He also noted that the recently announced dumping margin for Toyota minivans was the result of "an unreasonable assessment by the Department of Commerce."
 Borst noted that the Previa price was higher than the Big Three's vans when it was introduced, it was higher when the petition was filed, and it is still higher today.
 Borst cited these facts to support Toyota's case:
 -- When the petition was filed, Toyota's most popular Previa LE model was priced $1,800 higher than a similarly equipped Chrysler Caravan and $3,400 more than similarly equipped Chevy and Ford models;
 -- The timing of the Big Three's petition -- the worst U.S. auto market in the last 10 years, coupled with a product life cycle that clearly favored the imports in the time period examined -- grossly distorts the impact of the imports on the U.S. minivan market;
 -- Since the petition was filed almost a year ago, Chrysler has added a third shift at its minivan plant in the United States and has negotiated the ability to add a third shift at its minivan plant in Canada. Chrysler currently imports more than 70 percent of its vans from Canada, making it the largest importer of minivans in the United States. Chrysler currently is operating its minivan plants at 104 percent of capacity, higher than any other Big Three plant;
 -- Any "injuries" cited by the Big Three in the minivan market are self-inflicted wounds. GM and Ford completely missed the minivan trend, as their first entries -- the Astro, Safari and Aerostar -- were developed on truck chassis as cargo vans for the commercial van market. The fact that they haven't changed the body styles in eight years hasn't helped sales either;
 -- According to consumers, GM's APV minivans were a styling failure. Consumer research shows that more than half the people who shopped APVs rejected them for styling reasons. In fact, one GM manager admits the APV "looks like a Dustbuster"; and
 -- The Chrysler Caravan's transmission problems in early 1991 led to a damaging report in Consumer Reports Magazine, which concluded with a "don't buy" recommendation.
 "Did Toyota injure the Big Three by the pricing of its Previa in the U.S.?" Borst asked in his closing remarks. "When you peel away the rhetoric, the politics, and even the uniqueness of the time period examined -- the only logical conclusion is no."
 -0- 5/21/92
 /CONTACT: James Olson of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., 310-618-4701/ CO: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. ST: California IN: AUT SU:


EH-DM -- LA019 -- 2960 05/21/92 15:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 21, 1992
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