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Toyota Dealers Pull Local Ads Over ABC News Coverage...Again

Just as giant dealer consortium Southeast Toyota had done in the southeastern U.S. several months ago, a northeast Toyota dealer association is yanking ads on local stations because it’s unhappy with ABC News’ coverage of Toyota’s recall woes.

The NY Daily News says WABC is out some $5 million in the boycott.

Southeast Toyota represents 173 dealers. The association went dark on the stations for the first quarter and was back on in the second. Managers in the area felt it was unfair that they were penalized for the network’s reportage; some pointed out station parking lots full of station-owned Toyota vehicles as evidence of their allegiance to the brand.

WABC and ABC News share the same parent, but the large majority of ABC affiliates are owned by other groups.

Some 59 dealers make up The Greater New York Toyota Dealer Assocation, which has pulled its ads in the No. 1 DMA. Chief Dennis Lauzon likens himself to a cuckolded woman when asked how long the boycott will last. “Ask the lady who’s scorned how long it takes for her to get over it,” Lauzon said.

Lauzon told the Daily News the ad money would not be redistributed elsewhere.

“They’re bashing our product during the news, it made no sense to advertise,” Lauzon added.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.