Metro Atlanta Toyota dealers plan to extend service hours for recall

Most  Toyota dealers said they were still unsure of exactly how they would repair the thousands of cars because they are still waiting on parts and instructions from the home office.

“It will all depend on Toyota,” Keith Mitchell, the service manager at Marietta Toyota, said of how the dealership will proceed.

But no appointments are being made yet, he said.  "We can’t do it without parts,” Mitchell said.

The world’s largest automaker has said it would send letters to owners  and those letters are required to schedule an appointment.  Toyota has said cars already on the road would get priority over those on the lot.

A recall of 4.45 million cars nationwide was announced Jan. 21 because accelerators could stick in the depressed position. Toyota said a repair involves installing a postage stamp-size steel shim, a couple of millimeters thick, in the pedal assembly, behind the top of the gas pedal. The shim will eliminate the excess friction between two pieces of the accelerator mechanism, Toyota has said.

But dealerships contacted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said they had received conflicting information about how long it will take to repair each car. Some said they were told it could take as little as 30 minutes or as long as three hours. Loaner cars will be provided as long as there are enough at each individual dealership.

Toyota has said the repairs could start within a few days but dealers told the AJC they are still waiting on the part.

“We have been told the parts will get here later this week,” said Tony Shoaf, director of the service department at Toyota of McDonough.

Mitchell of Marietta Toyota said the dealership’s service department could only begin scheduling appointments once it knows how many parts will come in the first shipment. “Depends on if we get 50 parts or 100,” Mitchell said.

When the parts start arriving, many dealership service departments will extend their hours.

There have been reports that some dealerships nationwide may have staff to make the repairs working 24 hours a day and some will be open every day, but none of the dealerships in metro Atlanta have said they will go to that extent.

Service manager Brian Eve at the Mall of Georgia Toyota in Buford said the dealership would extend its hours to 9 p.m. Mall of Georgia Toyota also will open Sundays until the recall has been satisfied.

Shoaf said the McDonough dealership would be open later on Tuesdays and Thursdays but would maintain its Monday-through-Saturday schedule. Shoaf said, however, that the dealership was hiring extra staff to handle the additional load.

On Monday, Toyota apologized to its customers for the lack of information that has left some owners fearing for their safety. At the same time, dealers where frustrated by the lack of information.

"I know that we have let you down," Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, said in a video address.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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