With the car market being up by 24% and Toyota experiencing a sales surge of 41%, many have commented that the carmaker's incentive scheme has truly made an impact. It was set to end on April 5 but Toyota says now that it doesn't have any immediate plans to end the offering.
Toyota Division boss Bob Carter said that dealers needed to restore sales quickly. He acknowledges though that heavy incentives would cause long-term damage on residual values, and eventually, the incentives will have to end. Carter described the brand to be "bruised" and that he has to "rebuild the brand."
The massive recalls that started in late January have resulted to a 9% drop in February sales for Toyota Motors Sales USA.
On March 1, Toyota launched an incentive program that included maintenance at no additional cost, subsidized leases and 0% financing over five years. Toyota is not expected to announce any changes formally until April 6.
Carter said that its dealers have said that not only have Toyota loyalists returned but there were many new buyers as well. Jesse Toprak of consulting firm TrueCar Inc. said that there appears to be a "solid percentage of conquest trade-ins" for Toyota.
Toprak said that conquest numbers would be skewed in March due to this increase. He said that conquests would decline subsequently unless Toyota sweetens its incentives further. Carter and Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales COO, proudly proclaims that the worst of Toyota's sales troubles are over.