Toyota eyes off-lease returns for growth

NEW ORLEANS -- Toyota Division asked dealers to make a renewed push for customer retention as more lease returns come back this year.

At the make meeting on Monday, Toyota told dealers that it wants sales of Toyota and Scion vehicles to increase to 2 million units this year, up from 1.96 million last year. Toyota also encouraged dealers to repeat as the top-selling retail brand in America.

Part of the growth will come from a fall introduction of a "mega change" for the 2015 Camry -- with dramatic sheet metal updates normally reserved for a full redesign, said dealer council chairman Jay Caldwell, president of single-point Caldwell Toyota in Conway, Ark.

Toyota estimates about 125,000 Toyota Financial Services lessees are ending their terms this year. New sales and service retention tools are being rolled out, especially in connection with the ToyotaCare free-maintenance program, said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota's North America Region.

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