March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second- largest automaker, is offering discounted leases on every U.S. model of its namesake brand for the first time to counter incentives started this month by Toyota Motor Corp.
Honda began a promotion this week to let customers lease Accord, Civic and Insight cars and CR-V, Pilot, Element, Odyssey and Ridgeline light trucks with no down payment or security deposit, no money due for a month and waiving of any fees when the agreement is signed, said Chris Martin, a spokesman. The program runs until May 3, according to Tokyo-based Honda’s Web site.
“The offer is basically across the board, so it’s the first time we’ve ever done that,” Martin said today. “The whole industry environment is a factor, so it’s not that we specifically targeted Toyota.”
Toyota, stung by record recalls and two consecutive months of sales declines, added no-interest loans and lease discounts on most of its U.S. lineup in early March. Toyota said sales at U.S. dealerships jumped 50 percent in the week after its program began.
Offers by Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, appear to be helping customer interest, according to auto pricing service Kelley Blue Book.
Irvine, California-based Kelley estimated today that 7 percent of car buyers it surveyed said they weren’t considering a Toyota model before its incentives began and now are, and that 45 percent of new-car shoppers overall are considering a Toyota, up 13 percentage points from last week.
Honda’s “huge new lease program is proof that Toyota’s recent flood of incentives might just be impacting Honda as well,” said James Bell, Kelley Blue Book’s executive market analyst. “This type of reaction could spark a new round of incentives among several more manufacturers.”
The U.S. unit of Honda is based in Torrance, California. Honda’s American depositary receipts, which each represent one share, fell 83 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $35.43 at 1:53 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have climbed 53 percent in the past 12 months.