You gotta have inventory to sell, first and foremost.
If you've ever watched TV, listened to the radio, or read a newspaper, then you're familiar with Toyota's and Lexus' biggest yearly sales events. Dubbed "Toyotathon" and "Lexus December to Remember," these end-of-the-year promotions have been wildly popular for years. Many customers purposely wait until December to purchase or lease a new car in order to get the best price possible.
But in order to sell new vehicles, dealerships need to have inventory and that's in short supply these days because of the ongoing semiconductor chip supply crisis. Toyota and Lexus dealers, like other brands, currently lack regular inventory due to Toyota being forced to cut global production in recent months.
When the crisis first began, Toyota was in a good position thanks to its chip stockpiles, which have since dwindled. Toyota's senior vice president for operations, Jack Hollis, told Automotive News that he's "optimistic the inventory situation will start to change for the better. With a little luck, December will be the turning point, and while we don't want to over-promise, it may allow us to carry forward much of our marketing and creative as planned."
Still, dealers nationwide remain concerned. Finishing their sales years with these two events is crucial to their bottom lines. New vehicles are still available, but the normal 15 to 30-day supply is now more like 10 to 12 days.
One workaround up for consideration by the luxury brand is to focus efforts on the recently redesigned Lexus NX instead of a wider inventory sales push. Toyota still hasn't made a decision regarding the December promotion's makeup. Something will definitely happen because the all-new Tundra is due to go on sale by the end of the year. Dealerships take advantage of major sales events as a way to expand customer engagement and maintaining personal relations.
Even if customers can't drive home a new ride that very day, Toyota's head of marketing, Lisa Materazzo, is confident that as long as the customer is "willing to wait, we can ultimately meet [their] needs within a short period of time - we can take the order, lock in the specs, get the process going."