Toyota dealers in Texas are pooling their advertising dollars to buy a bigger voice in the certified used-vehicle market.
Dealer ad associations in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are contributing $100 per certified used vehicle sold to cover the cost of local advertising for certified used Toyotas in their markets.
The ads begin this month, and the program is scheduled to continue through December.
Co-op advertising is common among dealers who want to showcase new cars and trucks, but it is unusual for dealers to band together to advertise used-car inventory.
"It is fairly new, but it is the same concept (as new-car co-op advertising)," said Steve Grogean, owner of Toyota of Richardson in Richardson, Texas, and president of the 15-member North Texas Toyota Dealers Advertising Association, which includes Dallas-Fort Worth. "It just makes sense for us to promote it as a group."
Toyota Division sold 39,273 certified used vehicles through February, making it the No. 1 seller of certified used vehicles this year.
According to the Toyota dealers involved in the Texas program, distributor Gulf States Toyota approached them early this year about creating a co-op advertising fund to promote Toyota certified used vehicles.
Dealers say Gulf States, which distributes Toyota vehicles in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma, will offer matching funds of 40 percent. Gulf States did not respond to requests for comment, but dealers said Gulf States has indicated that it expects to expand the program to other dealer groups in the region. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. said it is not involved in the program.
Grogean said dealers in his group have been assessing themselves $100 per vehicle sold since about Feb. 1. He said the North Texas group collectively sells about 300 certified used Toyotas a month.
David Schoemaker, owner of Toyota of Irving in Irving, Texas, said he believes the co-op advertising program will create brand awareness in the Dallas-Fort Worth market and help him increase sales of certified used Toyotas from 382 last year to about 475 this year.
Jerry Rocco, general manager of Joe Myers Toyota in Houston, said he's counting on the program to help him get to 40 to 50 certified used vehicles a month within six months, from current sales of 15 to 20 a month.