LOS ANGELES — With Japanese and North American factories returning to near-full production, Toyota Division is launching a swath of 0-percent loan and lease incentives on core models.
Starting today, Toyota is offering 0-percent financing for 60 months on the Camry, and lease rates starting at less than $200 a month.
On the Tundra pickup, the offer is 0-percent financing for 60 months or a rebate of of $2,000 to $2,500 depending on the model.
Low interest rates and special lease rates also are being offered on the Corolla, Sienna, Highlander, Venza and Avalon. All are built in North America.
Although Toyota usually gives its U.S. sales regions latitude to set their own incentives, the latest discounts are a national promotion that may have some regional variations. Toyota also is allowing current lease owners to extend leases.
Toyota brand sales fell 30 percent in May and are now up just 1 percent in a market that is up 14 percent for the first five months of the year.
Bob Carter, Toyota Division general manager, described May as "two different months," because the post-earthquake production outlook grew more favorable as May progressed.
He said Toyota sold 25 percent of its total May volume over the Memorial Day weekend, reflecting enhanced discounts the automaker implemented after a sluggish start.
"Our availability will be much stronger in June than it was in May," Carter said. "Increasing Prius production remains the top company priority, and Camry and Corolla will be back to full production in June."
Randy Pflughaupt, Toyota's group vice president of sales administration, said Toyota has "reached the low point of product flow." He said there is a 30-days supply of the Corolla and a 50-days supply of the Camry. Stockpiles of the Prius hybrid remain tight at a 10-days supply.
Currently, Toyota Division has about 195,000 units in ground stock, down about 50,000 units from the start of May.
Carter did not predict when dealers would return to pre-quake inventory levels because of fluctuating sales rates. While most forecasters had predicted a sales rate of 13 million to 13.2 million, the pace for May was only 11.78 million.
"The market took a little bit of a breather," Carter said. "We may have taken a plateau, but we remain bullish on the industry in the third and fourth quarter."
The Lexus brand continues to struggle. Its inventory levels were already low before the March 11 earthquake, a condition that has worsened.
Mark Templin, general manager of Lexus, said Lexus' inventory hit its lowest level in May in more than six years. Lexus' May sales were off 45 percent because of short supplies. Lexus has about 15,000 units on the ground, far below Templin's desired level of 35,000 units.
Lexus will not launch any incentive plans in June while it waits for its Japan-sourced products to start arriving. But Templin said Lexus will "reward customers for waiting."