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Some car dealerships are uniquely gifted at creating silly and some even down-right sketchy marketing campaigns. It is almost a “thing.” We have all seen many silly, goofy, and sometimes funny car ads and promotions over the years. However, one Lexus dealership took the car lot commercial a step too far by reprogramming cars’ infotainment screens to show this horribly cheesy and tacky ad upon starting. 

Car salesperson Victor Zeng (right) assists customer Gary Zhao at a Toyota dealership in El Monte, California
A car salesperson assists a customer at a dealership | Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.

Car dealership ads have finally gone too far

We have all seen the over-the-top promotional stickers and dealership badging added to new and used cars to advertise the car lot. Ohio’s Performance Lexus decided to push the envelope by replacing the start-up screen with an old-school phone book-style ad. 

CarScoops mentions that after a Reddit user posted a photo to the forum-style platform, the internet couldn’t help but drag the Lexus dealership. Unlike the normal OEM start-up screen, which is usually pretty straightforward, the screens from Performance Lexus showed a poorly designed, aesthetically displeasing “Thank You” note, complete with an unappealing collection of numbers, emails, and other dealership info. Find the photo here.

What’s the problem with a little advertising? 

Sales stickers on a cars at dealership, highlighting negotiating tips to save money at a car dealer
Cars parked at a car dealership | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Unlike a sticker and license plate surround with “Bill Byrd Kia” on it, the infotainment screen isn’t a 5 min job you can knock out on a Saturday morning during a car wash. Lexus of Orange Park posted a video after the many disgruntled customers complained, showing you how to remove the atrocious advertisement. 

Removing the ad requires computers, files, USB flash drives, and other non-car things not to be accosted by the ad. Granted, this ad isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but not many drivers want to spend their first moments with a new car digging through the infotainment system, looking for some obscure setting. But for those drivers who enjoy the technical aspects of their car, this may not be a difficult job at all.

Regardless of how easy it is to fix, changing car settings for advertising a dealership is probably a step too far. 

Dealerships are struggling 

Unfortunately, stories like this of dealerships doing annoying things to snag an extra buck are becoming far too common. However, a little empathy could go a long way. Many customers have struggled just to find a car to buy lately, much less being able to afford one if they somehow do find one. 

The flip side of that coin is for all the folks wanting to buy a car, who can’t due to supply issues, dealers are also not able to sell those cars. This strain on dealers leads to things like outrageous price hikes, insane trade-in rates, and goofy advertising methods. Albeit these things are annoying and might even border on unethical at times, the truth is, these dealers are also just trying to make it through, same as the rest of us. Be that as it may, maybe dealers ought to leave the infotainment programming to the manufacturers. 


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