Cresting on the wave of their success as the world’s largest automaker, Toyota has announced plans to launch a $1 billion marketing campaign in the U.S. Exceeding their typical budget by an estimated 40%, Toyota’s ad blitz is apparently a last-ditch effort to boost sales before the end of the fourth quarter. Despite the ever-expanding popularity of the Toyota Prius and the significant success of the Cash for Clunkers program, 2009 was one of the worst fiscal years in company history and analysts expect Toyota to close Q4 with a substantial loss.
In addition to softening the blow of their final net loss, Toyota’s anticipated flood of propaganda will also serve to keep GM in check. The General, who lost the number 1 spot to Toyota earlier this year, has released their own media campaign encouraging consumers to buy domestic while simultaneously attempting to discredit the commonly held belief that imports are superior in quality. Unfortunately, that argument really only works if the domestic cars in question are superior to imports, and I’ve yet to see a single vehicle come out of Detroit that can survive well past 150,000 miles with only routine maintenance. Of course, I’ve also yet to see a Toyota I’d actually like to buy, so I guess it’s a fair match. May the best PR department win.