Lexus Turns Handicapped Parking Spots into 'Lexus Only' Zone at Calgary Airport

Lexus and the airport have since apologized for the change, and will be remedying the situation.

Bloomberg, via Getty Images

There are unfortunately-timed promo campaigns, and then there are ill-conceived ones. A recent campaign by Lexus in Canada fell into the latter category, when the Japanese automaker teamed up with the Calgary Airport Authority and YYC Calgary International Airport to offer premium Lexus-only parking spaces close to the airport's facilities, according to the CBC

The CAA green-lit the conversion of five handicapped parking spots into these spots meant exclusively for Lexus customers, with CAA spokeswoman Judy Moseley citing cash flow as the airport's incentive to paint over the handicapped spaces. "We're always looking at different ways to diversify our revenue stream," said Moseley to the CBC.

As one might have expected, a complaint was filed by a family who arrived at the airport expecting to use the handicapped parking spots they were familiar with in the facility's short-term parking zone...only to find Lexus logos painted on the ground instead of the familiar wheelchair.

Michael Bouliane of Lexus Canada claims it was not aware that the CAA would be converting handicapped spots for use in their promo campaign. "Lexus Canada would like to offer our heartfelt apologies to anyone who may have been affected or offended by a recent marketing campaign at the Calgary airport. We were not aware that accessible parking spaces would be used for this campaign, and have asked the airport to correct the situation as quickly as possible by returning these parking spaces to their intended use," said Bouliane, according to the CBC.

The CAA took the fall for Lexus, stating, "The Calgary Airport Authority was solely responsible for the selection of the stalls identified for the parking campaign. Lexus Canada did not play a role in selecting, and was not aware of, the locations for the campaign," in a statement issued on their website. They also promise that the handicap spots—relocated to accommodate for the Lexus promotion—will be retained, and that the Lexus-only spots will be converted back to handicap spots.