LOS ANGELES -- Southeast Toyota Distributors is cranking open the incentive spigot.
Just days after Toyota Motor Corp. signaled North American vehicle output would recover sooner than expected following the March earthquake in Japan, the regional distributor launched a swath of enhanced consumer APR and dealer cash incentives.
In an email to Toyota dealers, SET said it expects "in excess of 20,000 vehicles in dealer inventory within the next 30 days, which is much more than we expected earlier this month."
Starting Tuesday, May 24, through June 30, SET has the following incentives:
Camry: Zero percent financing for up to 60 months, and $1,000 dealer cash, up from $750.
Tundra: Zero percent financing for up to 60 months, and $2,000 dealer cash, up from $1,000.
Highlander: Financing rates from zero to 2.9 percent from 36 to 60 months, and $500 dealer cash (up from zero).
Avalon: $500 dealer cash, up from zero.
Venza: $500 dealer cash, up from zero.
Sienna: $500 dealer cash, up from zero.
The new round of deals -- introduced just ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend -– could also help spur sales as May comes to a close.
Analysts say new car and truck demand slumped in early May because of rising gas prices, falling discounts and inventory shortages.
Southeast Toyota encompasses 173 independent dealerships in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and North and South Carolina, representing about 20 percent of Toyota's U.S. sales.
Beginning June 4, Toyota says production of the U.S.-produced Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, Sequoia, Sienna and Venza will return to normal levels.
Since the March 11 earthquake in northeast Japan, Toyota has been forced to curtail output at North America assembly plants to preserve parts or because of component shortages.
The automaker has said it expects global output to return to normal levels by the end of the year.
Toyota's U.S. sales – reflecting diminished supplies of key models such as the Prius hybrid -- rose just 1 percent in April, and have increased 9 percent this year in an overall market that has improved 20 percent.
Last week, in a memo distributed to dealers, Toyota U.S. sales chief Bob Carter said the automaker should have more than 300,000 vehicles available for dealers this month, or enough to last more than 6 weeks at current sales rates.
Staff reporter Ryan Beene contributed to this report.