LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Division will start its annual summer clearance sale in July instead of counting on its traditional August blowout.
Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter said the decision had been planned for months because this year's July covers five weekends, including a three-day weekend over the Independence Day holiday. U.S. sales of the recall-tarnished brand rose 8 percent in June, while its share for the first half fell to 12.8 percent from 13.6 percent a year earlier.
Carter said Toyota will not increase its incentives from present levels, but the automaker will boost national, regional and retail advertising. Toyota's brand advertising will focus on quality and safety, while regional spots will be about dealers' relationships with Toyota and its vehicles, Carter said.
Carter quoted Power Information Network data that stated Toyota is spending about $2,000 per new vehicle sold on incentives, which he said was "high." But for comparison purposes, he said Toyota still underspends South Korean brands by $300 to $500 and is below by the Detroit Three brands by at least $1,000 per vehicle.
"We are spending more on incentives than we were a year ago," Carter said. "It's a tough market in a suppressed industry. [Our incentives] are where we need to be on a short-term basis."