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This article from 2007 is a must-read for any Toyota owner. Keep in mind that Carroll Shelby died in 2012:

http://www.autonews.com/article/20071029/ANA06/710290312/1078?Profile=1078

U.S. distributors gave Toyota a toehold in a mysterious new market in 1969

Former race car driver Carroll Shelby reckons he could be a billionaire today if he had taken Toyota up on its offer to distribute cars for the upstart company back in the 1960s. Instead Shelby, now 84, turned his good racer buddy, Tom Friedkin, on to the deal. And it was Friedkin who in 1969 acquired Gulf States Toyota Inc., an independent distributor that has annual revenue of more than $4 billion and is getting stronger each year.

Says Shelby: "I turned it down because I went to Lee Iacocca, and he told me not to take it because the domestic makers were going to push the Japanese back into the ocean. But I'm happy for my friend. At least a friend made the money."

Shelby says that financially, he regrets not taking the Toyota deal. "But," he says, "with a billion dollars, I'd probably be in a casket by now."
Instead, he's still making Shelby Cobras and their 427-cubic-inch engines. He's also a distributor for Goodyear racing tires.

Gulf States, of Houston, and Southeast Toyota Distributors Inc., founded by Jim Moran in Deerfield Beach, Fla., now are Toyota's only U.S. distributors. It has been a win-win situation for both the distributors and for Toyota.
 

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Think of the possibilities if Shelby had decided to distribute Toyota brand in the U.S. and also had a customizing service for Toyotas - the RAV4 with an available 427 engine comes to mind . . . .:smile
 

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2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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Think of the possibilities if Shelby had decided to distribute Toyota brand in the U.S. and also had a customizing service for Toyotas - the RAV4 with an available 427 engine comes to mind . . . .:smile
He could have done some amazing things with Toyotas!
 

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Hats off to SET Distributors ... :D :cheers:

This post may not be RAV4 specific but it is Toyota. I have a 2011 Tundra CM SR5 that came out of the Southeast District and made its way up to Ohio.

It has a spray in bedliner and I had all the oem documentation to prove it came from the dist as a port installed option, even the document(is it called fast lane). The info dealerships can see from their system... anyway...

Had to get a repair done to the liner, under warranty and not one single dealership in my area would touch it. They all said, and I quote "Toyota does not do spray in bed liners" Take it where ever you had it done.
Without getting too long winded, I contacted Southeast Toyota and they in turn put me in touch with the bed liner distributor out of Texas (Ultimate Linings) to get this resolved.

I had one dealership(service mgr) near Cincinnati actually call me a "liar" to my face when I showed him the documentation for the warranty. He said it looks legit, but has to be fake since he knew for a fact that Toyota has never done spray in bed liners and that I was lying and the papers were fake and he wouldnt help me.... hahaha.

Little did he know, Mark Lombardi at Ultimate (seems as of today, he is no longer with UL) had indicated that toyota had singed a deal with Ultimate to offer the spray in bed liner to the remaining regions outside of GS and SET, thus covering the entire US, not just GS and SET regions.

Took SET and Ultimate a week or two trying to find a dealer who could repair the liner for me, but they did and it WASNT a Toyota dealer, it was Ford of all people.

So my thoughts on Toyota, specifically the SET Distributor and specifically Mike Esposito(SET) and Mark Lombardi(UL), thank you for your customer service. You two did more for me than any of my local
dealerships would even consider. And covered all the costs associated with travel, car rental and constant phone calls to me after the repair to insure the work was completed to my satisfaction.

And now my local dealerships are pushing spray in bed liner options on their trucks... hahaha, even though they cant service the liner after the sale. One dealership said they cant afford the cost of the new equipment, nor do they have the room.... too funny.....
 
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