Cuomo to Toyota: Provide Rentals for Customers

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has reached an agreement with Toyota to provide Toyota owners with alternative transportation and an easy means of getting their vehicles to the shop if those vehicles are under recall.

The terms of the settlement are said to include a provision reimbursing consumers in New York State for rental cars while their Toyotas are being repaired. The agreement also includes a provision that arranges for flatbed trucks to pick up the recalled Toyotas and bring them to dealerships.

An important third provision stipulates that all of this will be down without cost to the dealerships. Toyota dealers in the U.S. are already under strain because of recalls affecting millions of vehicles and because news of possible safety defects has affected sales.

Officials in the attorney general's office said negotiations have been going on for more than a week. Lawyers worked through the night Tuesday and by 9 a.m. today the agreement was ready to sign.

The pact comes the same day Toyota executives testify before the House Oversight Committee in Washington on Toyota recalls and alleged safety defects. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company founder, and Toyota President Yoshimi Inaba are taking the stand.

On Tuesday, the head of Toyota's North American operations, Jim Lentz, appeared before a subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee to discuss the recalls and the possible causes of sudden accelerations.

Recent recalls have affected 8.5 million Toyotas worldwide. The largest recalls were for floor mats and "sticky" gas pedals that were said to be possible sources of random acceleration incidents.