Toyota posts 26% gain, adds incentives to keep momentum
The Camry will be offered with 1.9 percent APR financing in August. Toyota also will push “great lease rates across the board,” with some Camry leases less than $200 a month.
LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. continued to rebound from last year's earthquake-related vehicle shortages by posting a 26 percent increase in July sales.
The automaker plans to keep its momentum with a range of August incentives, including zero percent financing and discounted leases.
While Toyota retreated from its gains of 60 percent and 87 percent in May and June, it remains on track to top its projection for 1.9 million combined sales for Toyota, Lexus and Scion this year. Bill Fay, Toyota Division's new general manager, declined to give a revised forecast.
Toyota led the industry in retail sales for a fifth consecutive month.
The Camry stretched its lead over the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima as the best-selling car in the United States.
Meanwhile, the aging Corolla was edged by the Honda Civic as the industry's best-selling compact car. Sales of the Prius hybrid remained strong, despite declines in gasoline prices.
The Tundra full-sized pickup had its strongest performance in 18 months, Fay said.
Sales of all Scion products rose. That was due primarily to the Japanese plant that builds Scions being shuttered by the earthquake last year. The youth brand is on pace for a 72,000-unit year, less than half its peak volumes in 2006 and 2007.
Fleet sales represented just 4 percent of Toyota sales, as the automaker satisfied most of its quake-delayed fleet obligations earlier this year.
The fact that July Fourth fell on a Wednesday sapped some of that holiday's typical weekend strength, Fay said. Momentum picked up in the last 10 days of the month.
To spark sales, Toyota will launch an August sales push featuring zero percent financing on the Corolla, Avalon, Tundra, Venza, RAV4, Highlander and Sienna. The Camry gets 1.9 percent APR financing. Toyota also will push "great lease rates across the board," with some Camry leases less than $200 a month, Fay said.
"Consumers are responding to Camry's strong value and affordability proposition, taking advantage of long-term, low interest-rate financing and low lease rates," Fay said.
Toyota also launched a $250 debit card incentive that is activated by customers answering trivia questions about the automaker on various Toyota social media sites.
On the Lexus side, July sales were up 25 percent to 18,235 units. The brand still trailed German rivals BMW and Mercedes.
Still, the launches of the redesigned GS sedan and freshened RX 350 "continue to drive our sales growth," said Mark Templin, Lexus Division general manager. The cars are selling at anticipated annualized rates. The ES and ES hybrid sedans get their official launch in August.
"We are anticipating a strong month [in August] … with a great finish to the summer selling season," Templin said. "We're right on the plan."
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