Toyota commands about a 15.5-percent share of the U.S. market so far this year. That's the same share it had a year ago, before its recall marathon began. Analysts studying the market have suggested that Japanes automaker's brand perception hasn't taken that big of a hit with the wider public, but Toyota has also dipped heavily into incentives and price dropping in order to keep moving its metal. Those are two corners of the retail world you don't usually find Toyota, and the move has apparently dragged Honda with it.

Honda is the brand most cross-shopped against Toyota, so what its rival does to draw traffic must be closely watched and, in this case, matched. The Feature Special Lease deal Honda has just introduced is good for nearly every model, eliminates the down payment, security deposit and first month's payment, and waives all lease fees. The program runs until May 3. On top of that Honda has 0.9-, 1.9-, and 2.9-percent APR financing deals. Between them, they cover Honda's entire model line.

Honda's lease program runs until May 3, a month longer than Toyota's. Now that Toyota knows it's going to be a long battle to hold its position, we'll be interested to see how what kind of fortitude and endurance the company has. Honda probably will be as well...

[Source: L.A. Times via The Car Connection | Image: Scott Olson/Getty ]