DETROIT -- New incentives are boosting Toyota’s U.S. sales big time in early March, and analysts forecast a 30 percent bounce for the full month.
After Toyota brand sales fell 10 percent in February as it struggled with safety recalls, on March 1 Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. introduced 0 percent financing, subsidized leases and free maintenance incentives.
Toyota Senior Vice President Don Esmond told suppliers today that North American sales surged about 50 percent in the first eight days this month, The Associated Press reported.
But for the full month, Toyota’s U.S. sales will increase about 30 percent, Edmunds.com analysts forecast.
“Incentives work best in the early going, but they start to peter out as the month goes along,” Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said today. “That’s why it’s important for Toyota to find something else in the months ahead.”
George Magliano, director of North American auto research for IHS Global Insight in New York, said Toyota quickly attracted loyalists who had deferred buying until an incentive was offered. But the offers won’t help for long, Magliano said.
“This will boost sales a little bit, but it’s not going to continue beyond this month,” he said. “They’re still wrestling with the recalls and new reports of problems.”
Magliano said Toyota’s March results would tend to improve anyway because the industry is rebounding from decades-low sales in the first quarter of last year.