Others, such as Earl Stewart, dealer principal of Earl Stewart Toyota in Lake Park, Fla., oppose the move. Stewart said he advertises 75 percent of the store's inventory below invoice and that is a key reason why his store is among the highest-volume dealerships of any brand in southeastern Florida.
He said he has been told of potential stiff penalties for dealerships that violate the new ad guidelines.
"This is not in the best interest of the consumer, and I'm not going to keep my mouth shut," Stewart said.
Toyota is preparing to roll out details of the plan at its national dealer meeting early next month in Las Vegas, Stewart and other Toyota dealers said. The ad guidelines are expected to take effect in January, they said.
Asked about the guidelines, a Toyota spokesman wrote in an email: "As is customary at our National Dealer Meeting, we will discuss a number of business-related topics, including marketing covenants." He declined further comment.
Toyota dealers in several regions of the country told Automotive News they were informed of the new ad guidelines by national and regional Toyota sales representatives.
They described an approach similar to one enforced by Honda in the U.S.
Honda brand dealers are prohibited from advertising vehicles below invoice whether in print, online or broadcast media. After three offenses in one year, a dealership can lose its marketing assistance, which can be $400 per vehicle for many dealers.
Those are among the most stringent ad guidelines in the industry. Honda argues they are in place to protect the brand, which, in practice, has helped Honda vehicles retain some of the highest residual values among all brands.