For Toyota and its Lexus brand, this December could be one to remember — for all the wrong reasons.
Ongoing microchip and other supply chain shortages caused by the pandemic have forced Toyota Motor Corp. to continue to cut its global production. Meanwhile, U.S. retail demand for new vehicles has slowed, but not yet enough to repopulate empty dealership lots.
That's left Toyota Motor North America executives with a conundrum: Do they still hold their traditional end-of-year sell-offs — and spend the requisite marketing money — if their dealers don't have any inventory to sell off?
The answer is probably, but top leaders at the company admit that they are couching that answer in a prayer that their production woes will begin to get better soon.
"I'm optimistic the inventory situation will start to change for the better," said Jack Hollis, senior VP for automotive operations at Toyota Motor North America. "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."