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Toyota Damaged by Recall Woes, Poll Says

Despite evidence that Toyota might be recovering faster than expected from its massive recalls, readers of TheStreet aren't convinced that that the automaker will be out of the woods anytime soon.
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(Article on Toyota's prospects for recovery updated to including Monday morning stocks movements, and additional analysis of the damages to Toyota's stock price during the past month.)

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Despite evidence that

Toyota

(TM) - Get Report

might be recovering faster than expected from its massive recalls, users of

TheStreet

aren't convinced that that the automaker will be out of the woods anytime soon.

We asked users of

TheStreet

in

a weeklong poll

comparing

Toyota

and

Ford

(F) - Get Report

whether the "purchase intent" figures from Edmunds.com -- which showed that Toyota's purchase intent, which had fallen from 13.9% to 9.7% during the height of the recall frenzy, had rebounded to 12.2% by Feb. 12 -- were an indication that Toyota would be able to weather the storm from its recall woes, and fend of the advances of Ford.

Most users of

TheStreet

say no.

Indeed, only about 22.9% of respondents say they believe Toyota's standing as the world's largest automaker is ironclad, while a whopping 77.1% of them say they think that the repercussions of Toyota's mistakes will be enough to knock the company from its perch as the world's #1 automaker.

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There is, of course, plenty of evidence to support this perception.

For one, Toyota, facing mounting political pressure, has lately shown signs of buckling under the strain. This week, Toyota's media-shy president Akio Toyoda accepted an invitation to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Feb. 24, after initially recoiling at the idea of testifying in Washington. It can be assumed that Toyoda's probably not thrilled that Toyota's former lawyer Dimitrios Biller, according to

ABC News

, is also expected to appear before this committee after being subpoenaed.

The family of those killed in a California crash last year, which was allegedly due to the automaker's defective floor mats, will be testifying as well, according to the

Detroit Free Press.

And in a damning bit of new information on Toyota, Biller told

ABC News'

Brian Ross that Toyota was hiding evidence of its safety issues all along, and describes the company culture in a negative light.

"From a legal standpoint, I would describe it as a culture of hypocrisy and deception," Biller said.

Meanwhile Toyoda, who has apologized and expressed regret to customers, said in a statement that he "looks forward to speaking directly with Congress and the American people" during the congressional hearing.

Toyota has undoubtedly suffered a big blow to its reputation amid all the negativity surrounding its recalls and alleged cover-ups. for evidence, look no further than the company's stock price, which on Jan. 19 was a robust $91.78; since then, in the span of little more than a month, shares of Toyota have fallen to the $73.12 that they were trading at shortly after noon Monday.

Still, as CNW Research notes, the automaker isn't dead yet.

"Toyota is a broad-based brand with literally millions of loyal owners and a variety of products that can keep the brand afloat even if Camry is damaged," writes Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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