General Motors is the certified used-vehicle sales leader through the first five months of this year, but Toyota Division isn't ready to yield the crown.
In a regional ad campaign that began this month, Toyota is touting its No. 1 status based on 2001 full-year sales.
Norm Olson, marketing operations manager for Toyota Certified Used Vehicles, said the company has created three 30-second TV spots that use a humorous sports enthusiast theme with dealership employees celebrating like sports fans.
One commercial features a salesman who is so pumped about Toyota's No. 1 status that he has painted his face red and white and and has the words "Toyota Certified No. 1" painted on his bare chest. Another shows dealership employees trying to go about their daily routines wearing large foam hands with raised index fingers, popular accessories worn by fans at sporting events.
"We wanted to capture that (sports enthusiast) emotion," Olson said.
The campaign began June 8 in selected markets and includes special finance rates of 3.9 percent to 5.9 percent in some markets. The campaign also includes print and radio ads and point of purchase materials for dealers.
GM, which reports sales of certified Buicks, Chevrolets, GMCs, Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles together under its GM Certified brand, sold 28,488 certified used vehicles in May for a year-to-date total of 113,455.
Toyota Division alone sold 18,779 certified used vehicles in May for a year-to-date total of 97,676. Olson said the company later this year will adjust the ads to indicate Toyota is the top-selling make.
BMW continues to be the sales leader in luxury certified used vehicles, having retailed 5,413 units in May for a year-to-date total of 24,077. Mercedes-Benz is next with 3,819 certified units in May and 18,131 in the first five months of the year.