Toyota (NYSE: TM) rolled out an all-new incentive program aimed at jump-starting sales that have slumped due to bruised consumer confidence from the ongoing accelerator-related recalls
, the related hearings in Washington D.C., and several other issues and recalls.
The automaker calls the new program "the company's most far-reaching sales program in its history." Customers long loyal to the Toyota brand will be hard-pressed to recall any other time when such offerings were applicable to Toyotas on anything other than model-end clearance programs.
The so-called March Sales Event runs through April 5 and includes financing and leasing deals, plus customer loyalty offers.
Here's what the program includes:
- Zero-percent financing for up to 60 months. This applies for "qualifying buyers" of the 2010 Toyota Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Tundra, and Yaris.
- Low (reduced) lease rates. Also offered through Toyota's captive finance arm, Toyota Financial Services, the company is offering special deals on the 2010 Toyota Venza, Tundra, RAV4, Prius, Matrix, Highlander, Corolla, Camry, and Avalon.
- Complimentary two-year "premium maintenance" program. With proof that someone in the buyer's household already owns or leases a Toyota, Lexus, or Scion vehicle, Toyota will include all scheduled maintenance,
Toyota has a challenge ahead: to boost its public perception and increase sales in a way that doesn't further affect resale value. Last month we reported that the Toyota recall was already affecting
leasing residuals and predicted resale values for most Toyota models, with Automotive Leasing Guide
and Kelley Blue Book
among the companies adjusting values downward.
Toyota Motor Sales has estimated that its recall issues—including the negative tone of the recent hearings in Washington, D.C.— have cost about 18,000 sales just in February.