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Toyota's March sales rise 35%. Or perhaps 40%. Take your pick.

Earlier this week, Toyota North America's head of sales, Jim Lentz, said that Toyota's March sales were up 35 percent. Today, in an interview with the AP at the New York auto show, Toyota Group Vice President Bob Carter said March sales were actually up 40 percent compared with March 2009.

That's a heck of a lot of Toyotas sold in only one day! If March had 32 days, maybe Toyota's sales would have been up 50 percent.

We kid. Either way, it looks like customers are coming back to Toyota, if only for the bargain-basement, we'll-practically-pay-YOU-to-buy-a-Toyota incentives.

Lentz acknowledged to Reuters that "for a week or so, we lost a lot of momentum" in the marketplace, during the time right after the automaker's second big recall for runaway acceleration problems.

January was followed by two months of high-profile, very testy Hill hearings, where Toyota execs were hauled before members of Congress -- some of whom understood engineering not one lick -- and forced to apologize. In February, Toyota sales slumped 8.7 percent compared with February 2009.

The March sales were probably helped by Toyota's quick self-defense in two high-profile runaway Prius incidents. One was determined by government investigators to have been caused by driver error. The other incident was cast into serious doubt by Toyota's own investigation.

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker.

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 31, 2010; 2:09 PM ET
Categories:  Autos , Congress , The Ticker  | Tags: toyota, toyota congressional hearings, toyota problems, toyota sales  
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TNT in Philly time again. My partner is grinding up glass to put into coke which should keep the morgue technicians busy for a month of Sunday fun. The wife blew up the Toyota and runaway acceleration problem's solved. I think the crankshaft is broke. I told her to put oil in the thing and now it needs towed or flat bedded. Take your pick. At least she picked up rum before it blew.

Posted by: tossnokia | April 1, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

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