LOS ANGELES -- After an improved January sales effort, Toyota is launching an aggressive advertising and incentives push that will run through March.
The incentives are similar to those offered in last year's Toyotathon campaign. For example, Toyota will offer zero percent financing for 60 months, plus $500 Toyota Financial Services cash back on the Camry. Loyal Camry owners financing through Toyota Financial Services will receive an additional $500 cash, said Bob Carter, Toyota Division general manager.
Toyota spent $2,179 per vehicle on incentives in January, a 37.5 percent increase over last January, but a decline from the December 2010 level of $2,245, according to TrueCar data. Overall, the industry averaged $2,576 per vehicle in January, down slightly from December and flat from last January.
Carter said Toyota's February and March incentive spending will be significantly higher.
“We will be leading the market. The market is still transactional-based, but this is going to get us off to a very fast start. We are going to stay aggressive in the market,” he said. “It's our plan that we want to grow faster than the industry rate.”
Carter said incentives on trucks and SUVs will vary by region. But the Camry and Corolla incentives will be nationwide.
To publicize the incentives, Toyota will launch on Presidents Day weekend an advertising campaign called “No. 1 for a Reason.”
The commercials will give stories behind Toyota being the top-selling retail brand in America, the Camry's nine-year run as best-selling car, and similar accolades for Corolla, Tacoma and Prius. It also will push the incentive programs, as well as Toyota's complimentary maintenance plan.
“It's very much a celebratory ad campaign, but we're also saying, ‘Here are the reasons why,'” Carter said.
Toyota and its Lexus and Scion brands sold 115,856 vehicles in the United States in January, up 17 percent over the same month last year. The automaker posted the gains even as its ongoing recall problems persisted. All told, Toyota has recalled more than 18 million vehicles globally since the fall of 2009.