Toyota sales surged over 40% in March compared with last year after the automaker offered some of its deepest discounts ever to cope with the fallout of millions of recalls. The incentives were scheduled to end April 5, but Toyota says some will continue into the spring, including an offer of free maintenance for return Toyota customers.
“When you look at what retail consumers are buying, many more retail consumers are going to be buying Toyotas in the month of March than any other brand,” Toyota spokes-personel have stated at the New York International Auto Show, which kicked off with press previews on Wednesday.
Toyota will provide updates on its incentive programs on Monday, but changes should be small. “We’ll tweak them, adjust them, but don’t expect much of a strategic change,” Toyota says. “They’re working very well.
Toyota dealers have so far repaired about 2 million recalled cars and trucks in the U.S. Dealers are repairing about 50,000 vehicles a day, by adding metal shims to the accelerators and shaving down pedals to prevent them from sticking or getting trapped under floor mats.
Automakers are scheduled to report March sales on Thursday. Toyota’s sales fell 9% in February while the broader industry saw sales climb 13%.
One big seller in March was the RAV4 small SUV, which saw sales more than triple from February to about 24,000. Those sales got a boost from trade-ins from rival automakers and brisk business from young families, who like how the vehicle combines elements of a sedan and SUV.
A small percentage of Toyota’s March sales increase was due to customers who would have bought Toyotas in later months. A large number of buyers remain “on the fence” about buying Toyotas and will make their purchase once the media frenzy over quality dies down.
Toyota welcomes government investigations into any ties between electronics in Toyota vehicles and cases of unintended acceleration.
The Company has repeatedly denied that its electronics are to blame for unintended acceleration, blaming faulty gas pedals or pedal entrapment under floor mats.