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TORRANCE, Calif. — In an effort to support dealers and drive sales, Toyota Financial Services said Tuesday that franchised dealers can now get a $450 credit on each recalled model purchased via various Toyota remarketing Web sites and Toyota-sponsored auctions.

The TFS credit can be applied to certify these vehicles, which can ultimately mean lower transaction prices for consumers.

"For a limited time during the month of March, Toyota dealers who purchase select used vehicles will be eligible for a $450 credit per vehicle to help offset the expenses related to certifying used vehicles," Justin Leach, spokesperson for TFS, told Auto Remarketing Tuesday.

More specifically, Kevin Breault, general sales manager of Michael's Toyota in Bellevue, Wash., explained, "The $450 credit is applicable to vehicles purchased through Toyota-sponsored auctions or vehicles purchased online from various Toyota remarketing Web sites that fall under the affected recalls. This includes Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Sequoia and Tundra.

"This benefits the dealer, obviously, because the cost to certify the vehicles is less, therefore, we are able to offer it to our customers at a reduced price," Breault told Auto Remarketing Tuesday.

He went on to say that he hopes this special deal, in addition to "aggressive 2.9 financing" from TFS on most of the recalled models, will "incite a demand by the customers (whose demand) had diminished over the previous month due to the news on the recalls."

"Toyota has been very aggressive on both their new and certified incentives," Breault pointed out. "I think it's important to maintain comparable rates/incentives on both new and CPOs to ensure we maximize our entire market."

Toyota and its dealers saw an impact on certified sales after the automaker's recall. February certified sales fell 7.2 percent year-over-year to 18,382 units. Year-to-date CPO numbers were at 38,005 vehicles as of early March.

Norm Olson, sales operations manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, said in early March that between 40 percent and 45 percent of Toyota's potential CPO inventory was affected by the recall. And that figure included both in-stock inventory as well as units at auctions.

"We have since gotten those fixed," Olson noted, praising the widespread and collaborative efforts of "strike teams" comprised of dealership, factory and hired technicians which pulled together to fix the problems. Olson said they worked around the clock to repair affected Toyota vehicles at dealerships, local auctions and rental-car companies.

"It was just a tremendous effort," he pointed out. 

Though Toyota "pulled out a decent month," in February, March looks to be better, Olson noted.

"There's a lot of pent-up demand; our Internet hits are up 40 percent from the previous month," he explained. "I think the worst is behind us. We took a beating, but our dealers reacted in a very positive manner. We're back on the road and looking forward to a very fantastic March," Olson added.