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Ford Hitting Toyota Where It Hurts

(Ford vs. Toyota article updated with more detail about Ford commercials and Ford and Toyota stock price movements)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ford (F - Get Report) has finally found a major vulnerability in Toyota's (TM - Get Report) products -- and it clearly isn't willing to let the opportunity slip away.

Following Toyota's two massive recalls, Ford is now attempting to grow sales with new commercials taking on Toyota.

The commercials are part of Ford's "Spread the Word" campaign, which was launched on Jan. 12. Each of them feature Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, speaking to ordinary people in various settings about Ford vehicles. Rowe "spreads the word" at a gas station, in a coffee shop and at a school. In the school scene, Rowe finds a group of students at a library and quietly lets them know that "Ford has quality that can't be beat by Honda or Toyota."

Toyota customers are shown looking fearful and confused about the state of their cars.

In one such commercial Rowe is at a Ford plant, as quality control measures are being carried out. The video shows inspectors diligently examining each and every square inch of the vehicle's exterior. "This is after every aspect of each vehicle has been checked and double checked," Rowe points out. "These guys are obsessed." In this commercial, he once again says that "Ford has quality that can't be beat by Honda and Toyota." The commercial was shot in August of 2009, but the spot wasn't produced until last week.

Meanwhile, GM has been debuting a marketing program claiming that its quality is superior to Toyota's, according to CNBC.

Still, Toyota isn't taking these tactics lying down. The company ran ads before and after the Super Bowl on Sunday, reassuring customers over its sudden acceleration problems and massive recalls.
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