General Motors Offering Incentives to Toyota Owners

General Motors Co. will pay Toyota vehicle owners up to $1,000, or offer free financing to switch to a GM car or truck, the company said Wednesday.

GM, racing to increase U.S. market share, is looking to win new customers in the wake of Toyota's largest-ever vehicle recall.

Toyota this week halted sales of eight models while it investigates possible defects that may cause the vehicles to accelerate unintentionally.

GM's promotion begins Wednesday and will run through February.

Since news of Toyota's product stoppage surfaced Tuesday night, GM executives have been weighing how to capitalize on the dilemma without generating consumer backlash.

"It gets down to having customers in the showroom, and we have customers saying 'We don't want these cars anymore,'" said Steve Hill, general manager of GM retail activities. "There are some customers looking to find out more about us right now."

Hill said GM dealers have received thousands of calls from dissatisfied Toyota owners since Tuesday night.

GM won't advertise the move on a national level, but individual dealers and dealers groups may choose to do so.

Under the deal, GM will pay up to $1,000 to help buy out a Toyota lease or to help with a payment if the customer is paying in cash. Or, if the customer intends to finance a GM vehicle, they would be eligible for free financing up to five years. Customers would not be eligible for both the $1,000 and the financing.

Representatives from Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler could not immediately be reached for comment.