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Ford, Toyota, GM: Comparing the Fines

Silver of Wall Street Strategies pointed out that the civil penalty announcement brings Toyota's massive recalls "back to the forefront" after things started to look up a bit for the carmaker.

"It is a big blow for the company (and could push the cost of the recalls above $4 billion), but we expect Toyota to rebound," Silver wrote. However, the positive side of all this and its loss of market share points around the world is that it forces the company to "compete on the world stage" with peers for the "quality dollar."

"That being said, the next few months could be one of the best times to buy a Toyota from a value standpoint," Silver commented.

Toyota stated that it's aware of the NHTSA's view on the handling of its "sticky pedal" problems, but hasn't yet received an official letter regarding the civil penalty. The company is also reiterating the steps it's taking to improve communication with regulators and customers on safety issues, including through the appointment of a new chief quality officer for North America.

Toyota said that it will continue with its customer incentives, including zero-percent financing for up to five years on vehicles including the 2010 Camry, Avalon, Corolla, Matrix, Highlander, RAV4 and Tundra; certain maintenance services to all its customers at no cost; and the option of a $3,000 rebate for the Avalon in lieu of a loan.

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