By Kelsey Mays on November 3, 2011
Lexus' iconic red-bow sales program, December to Remember, begins earlier this year, with financing and lease specials available now on various 2011 and 2012 models.
Everyone is used to seeing winter holiday decorations hit department stores earlier each year, but the fact that the sale is named after the month of December and will run through all of November is a bit humorous to us, but likely not to the company.
Inventory recoveries after Japan's earthquake disruptions have prompted the brand to move the program ahead of its usual Thanksgiving kickoff, Lexus chief Mark Templin told reporters yesterday. This year's December to Remember began Tuesday and ends Jan. 3.
Specials vary by region. We contacted Lexus dealers in greater New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles. Here's what we learned:
Lexus spokesman Bill Kwong said marketing for the program would launch Nov. 18, but we're letting you in on it now.
Lexus needs as much traction as it can get. Sales were down 14.2% for October compared with a year ago, and sales remain off 16.2 percent for the year.
And while inventories are low, they are rebounding. As of Oct. 1, the brand had just 29 days' supply — a reflection of how long it would take dealers to sell their current cars at a normal selling rate. However, the supply is up from 25 days in September. Among major luxury brands, only Audi (27 days) has fewer cars on hand with the average rate for the major luxury brands at 47 days. A year ago, Lexus dealers had 47 days' supply as well.
Parent brand Toyota's Toyotathon event won't start until its usual Thanksgiving week time frame, a Toyota spokeswoman said. Like the Lexus sale, it varies by dealership and ends Jan. 3.
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey