Toyota US sales incentives losing impact-Edmunds

* Toyota early May U.S. retail sales down 12 pct from Apr

* GM U.S. retail early May sales up 9 pct

* Lexus U.S. sales up 22 pct, Toyota brand down 17 pct

* Impact of Toyota buyer incentives is waning

DETROIT, May 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Toyota Motor Corp’s (7203.T: )
sales fell in early May from April as hefty buyer incentives
started in March are losing their impact, Edmunds.com said on
Thursday.

Retail sales for Toyota in early May are down 12 percent,
Edmunds said.

“We’re noticing that Toyota’s incentive program is starting
to fall on deaf ears since most of the people who were open to
getting deals from the automaker already made their purchases,”
said Edmunds.com analyst Jessica Caldwell. “Our Toyota
cross-shopping data indicates that the brand has not yet
recovered from recent image problems.”

Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, is performing better, Edmunds
said. Its early May sales are up 22 percent from April while
Toyota-brand sales are down 17 percent from last month’s sales,
Edmunds said.

General Motors Co [GM.UL] sales for early May show a rise
of 9 percent from April, Edmunds said.

Compared with the industrywide low figures from May 2009,
Toyota sales in May are running 22 percent higher and GM’s 24
percent higher, Edmunds said.

The figures are for retail sales and do not include fleet
sales.

Total sales for May including fleet transactions are
forecast by CNW Research to reach 1.1 million vehicles.

Earlier on Thursday, J.D. Power and Associates forecast
that May total U.S. light vehicle sales would be 1.08 million
vehicles, or about 11.2 million on a seasonally adjusted
annualized basis.

J.D. Power said that May retail sales are down about 6
percent from April.

A CNW columnist suggested that GM sales are being inflated
by a push to sell fleet vehicles.

GM’s fleet sales for the first three months of 2010 more
than doubled from the first quarter of 2009, CNW reported, to
148,000 from 70,000.

Fleet sales at GM were 31 percent of the automaker’s
overall sales total for the first three months of 2010, up from
17 percent of its sales in the first quarter of 2009.

All major automakers in the U.S. market responded with
hefty incentives after Toyota introduced them in March. The
March incentives were the most ever offered by Toyota, which
was reacting to decreased sales in January and February caused
by safety recalls and a sales suspension of some of its
top-selling cars. Toyota has not said whether the level of its
incentives will continue into summer.

Stock Market News

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Toyota US sales incentives losing impact-Edmunds