Toyota Motor Corp brand sales chief Bob Carter hinted on Wednesday that the automaker would extend sales incentives beyond April 5, but he did not offer specifics.
Carter said the automaker would announce its sales plan next Tuesday, the day after current offers are scheduled to expire.
We will announce the April plans on Tuesday morning, April 6, said Carter when asked in an interview with Reuters whether Toyota would extend sales incentives unprecedented for the automaker.
We always adjust inventory and such, but I will give you a broad statement: Why would I change? I would have to have my head examined to change these programs, Carter said on the sidelines of the New York International Auto Show.
Toyota's March incentives including zero-percent financing helped boost its sales after declines in January and February linked to safety recalls and production halts along with the suspension of sales for some of its top-selling vehicles.
There will be regional minor adjustments of incentives, Carter said, to manage vehicle inventory.
Once Toyota put its hefty incentives in place last month, they were essentially matched by all other major automakers in the U.S. market.
Carter said Toyota's U.S. sales that will be announced on Thursday will show sales up as much as 40 percent for the month, compared with March 2009. Jim Lentz, Toyota's U.S. sales chief, on Tuesday said the automaker's sales would be up 35 percent in March.
If you were to call any (Toyota) dealer in the nation and just ask them what's going on, it's like its 2006 again, Carter said.
Toyota's U.S. sales fell 16 percent in January and 9 percent in February.
Carter said consumers were responding strongly to the existing offers, which also include free maintenance for two years.
Toyota has traditionally avoided steep discounts to protect resale values, and the incentives in March, the company said, were its most far-reaching sales program in history.
On Tuesday, Lentz said the automaker's March results will outpace those of the overall auto industry. Lentz noted that Toyota Rav4 sales shot up in March to about 22,000 from 6,500 in February.
Maybe we put a few too many incentive dollars on the vehicle this month, Lentz told reporters on Tuesday.
(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)