Toyota will continue its regional marketing strategy in February by offering dealers customer and dealer cash, low annual percentage rates and subvented leases.
Bob Carter, general manager of Toyota Division, said the strategy appears to be working. "Actually, we're ahead of our projections in January," Carter said during an interview after the make meeting today. "Month over month [December 2008 to January 2009], we're ahead of the plan."
Toyota also will increase its presence in big national programs that will be done jointly with dealers. Carter said the promotions will be similar to the multimillion dollar 0 percent marketing theme in October that was aired nationally by Toyota and regionally by dealers. He said the "Saved by Zero" program was the first such joint program between Toyota and dealers.
Carter said the national promotions will be held in May, August and December, but, he said, "we don't know what the new message will be."
He projected that the economy will pick up during the second quarter. Carter expects to see the recovery first on subcompacts and mid-sized sedans.
"Frugal is cool," he said. He said trends such as scrappage rates and population growth point to a 12.4 million or 12.5 million sales rate.
Carter did not project sales for Toyota Division, but he said he expects the division to pick up share this year.