Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. has dropped discussion of a national service brand but has continued to plug parts and service in national advertising.
Although other auto manufacturers have brands for parts and service - such as General Motors' Goodwrench - Toyota intends to rely mostly on regional advertising with dealerships to promote the parts and service business.
The company says it believes regional advertising of the existing Toyota brand for fixed operations gets plenty of bang for the buck.
"A national campaign with an ongoing brand is extremely expensive," says Bob Waltz, vice president of customer services for Toyota.
Toyota began its first national advertising campaign in October during National Car Care Month as it considered a national brand. Because the campaign resulted in a 12 percent increase in October parts sales, the company is running another national campaign this month.
"October was a record parts sales month," says Waltz, refusing to disclose specific sales figures.
The October "Get the Feeling of Winning a Dream Vacation!" sweepstakes, which was promoted through full-page ads in USA Today, mail and urban market radio spots, helped bring in new business. In addition to 12 vacation packages, Toyota gave 1,000 Toyota owners free oil changes for three years.
Of the 150,000 people who entered the sweepstakes, more than 31,000 were new to Toyota's customer database.
Toyota says 38 percent of consumers knew about or recognized the campaign based on before-and-after research done in San Francisco. It also says 50 percent of the customers who visited the dealerships for service had not been to a Toyota dealership for service in more than nine months.
Toyota discovered that the free-oil-change winners had an average of 50,000 miles on their Toyotas.
Dealerships often lose service customers after the 3-year/36,000-mile warranty expires.
This month, Toyota is telling Toyota owners to get their vehicles ready for summer through full-page ads in USA Today and radio spots in 37 major metro markets on nationally syndicated shows and more than 6.3 million pieces of direct mail.
Toyota isn't promoting a sweepstakes this time because it wants to see whether customers will come in for service without giveaways.