Toyota Promotes Certified Hybrids

By dancurranjr On February 27th, 2009

toyota_priusToyota Division’s certified used-vehicle program is rolling out a promotion of the brand’s used hybrids.

Toyota executives expect many Prius owners to trade in their cars when the redesigned Prius goes on sale this spring. Many of those used cars will be eligible for dealer certification, says Norm Olson, sales operations manager of Toyota Certified. He declined to predict a specific figure.

Besides promoting sales of used Prius cars, the new promotion seeks to raise consumer awareness of hybrid versions of used Toyota Camry sedans and Highlander SUVs, Olson says.

The promotion includes a Web page, The campaign also features advertisements on radio, dealership brochures and third-party Web sites that list used vehicles for sale.

Olson says the promotion aims to ease consumer doubts about buying used hybrids. He says certified Toyota hybrids undergo extensive inspections and have an 8-year/100,000-mile battery warranty from when the vehicle was sold as new.

Falling gasoline prices have dampened consumer interest in hybrids. But when fuel prices rise, Olson says, hybrids “are going to be a hot ticket again.”

In 2008, Toyota Certified sold 8,081 Prius cars, up 2.3 percent from 2007. This year, Olson says, Toyota Division expects to sell about 10,000 certified hybrids, 90 percent of them Priuses.

Last month, Toyota Certified sold 745 Prius cars, up 35.7 percent from January 2008. Overall, Toyota Certified sold 20,714 cars and trucks in January, up 1.4 percent from the year-ago month.

Earl Stewart, a Toyota dealer in North Palm Beach, Fla., says his dealership sold no used Priuses in January. Stewart commends Toyota for the used-hybrid promotion, saying, “I’m glad they’re doing something.”

Certified Toyota hybrids are covered by the same 3-month/3,000-mile comprehensive warranty that applies to other certified vehicles. The warranty takes effect when the vehicle is sold as certified.

The industry sold 140,826 certified used cars and trucks last month, up 9.9 percent from January 2008.

SOURCE: Automotive News

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