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Toyota, Toyota Camry Solara, Coupe, Convertible
Aug 16, 2003 (7:08 pm)
(I'm told) Atsushi Niimi (head of TMMNA) is on a crusade to improve Toyota quality and bring it back to levels seen in the third generation Camry. From what I've seen, the new Solara--at least in the interior--looks to go beyond anything Toyota has put out in years. I read somewhere (maybe Edmunds or Car Connection) that the 2004 Solara's interior is the best of any Toyota yet. There's no reason for this model to not eat into Accord coupe's sales.
#176 of 672 Toyota Distributors
Aug 16, 2003 (7:29 pm)
Gulf States Toyota and Southeast Toyota are different distributors. Gulf States covers Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Southeast covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. I think the dealers in Tennessee and Kentucky both go direct.
While the infamous ToyoGuard package is clearly a very high margin "product", it isn't quite as bad as some are indicating. You can't get a decent sealant job in most cities for much less than $100. It isn't realistic to compare commercial prices to a do it yourself solution when you are discussing fare pricing. Nobody even mentioned my favorite "package feature" which is their willingness to rent you a loaner for warranty work. The good news is that about 50% of the cars in the Southeast don't have the package and the dealers are normally willing to acknowledge the margin during price negotiations. Knowledge is power.
You can't really blame the distributors for making money on investments they made in the late 60s when people still didn't want to buy "Jap Junk". We see things very differently now, but the distributors took a risk and they are now reaping the rewards. If you think our free enterprise system is the pits, you can always go to a nice communist country and check out their automotive distribution networks.
#177 of 672 Spare Tire
Aug 16, 2003 (7:45 pm)
According to the brochure, The 04 Solara no longer will come with a full size spare. Curly
#178 of 672 94supra
Aug 16, 2003 (8:27 pm)
"Knowledge is power"
You got that right. Too bad every customer walking through there doesn't have some knowledge otherwise these ToyoGuard package equipped cars would be sitting on the lots collecting dust. It's one thing for a dealer to try and convince someone to get rustproofing or paint sealant, it's another to force 50% of the cars coming in with this stuff and the cost is passed on to the customer. Or are you going to tell me that this stuff costs the distributors basically nothing and costs the dealers basically nothing so they can also charge basically nothing to the customer as well if the car they want in the color they want and options they want is on the lot, BUT they don't want the ToyoGuard package or alloy wheels or two-tone paint. As I said, if they had that knowledge these cars would still be sitting on the lot.
So the car can be found exactly the way the customer wants or can be ordered the way they want? Great, I hope the Toyota rebates apply though, since most of the time it only applies to cars on the dealer's lot. Which brings up a good question, if ordering a car, when the car comes in can the customer still get the rebate or does it only apply to ones currently sitting on the lot? And what's with charging an arm and a leg for floormats? Let me guess, they're premium high quality floor mats? While people outside these regions are paying and bargaining on a $85 price the customers in the SE/Gulf region get to bargain on floormats for a price of $150.
"Nobody even mentioned my favorite "package feature" which is their willingness to rent you a loaner for warranty work."
How generous of them. Please tell me this isn't part of the ToyoGuard package and that it's free. Lots of dealers do this, and Mazda has it as part of their warranty anyway, and there may be a few other brands that do the same thing. And if it is part of the package then for $600 I should hope so!
"If you think our free enterprise system is the pits, you can always go to a nice communist country and check out their automotive distribution networks."
No, these customers aren't going to a communist country, they're going to cross the border to another state to avoid the scams. Any dealer has the ability and right to con someone into rustproofing or paint sealant, but when an entire region forces it on 50% of their cars things are getting out of hand. And I'm sure you'd be first in line to pay $600 for paint sealant and rustproofing wouldn't you?
Aug 16, 2003 (8:53 pm)
I agree with you on all accounts.
I stopped by that same local dealer I was talking about in a previous post.
They now have two Solara SLEs.
I wonder if the SLE will be the best seller?
Anyway, the car had the pearl white paint, which I know is an extra cost option from Toyota.
Toyota's MSRP was around $26K. After the SE distrubution added the useless options, the price was nearly $29K!!!
It didn't have any other options from the factory but the Paint and some floor mats I believe.
The SE region added the Toyoguard, sunroof visor, wheel locks, and I think the glass breakage sensor.
It was dark out, and the security guy that always watches these cars was talking with me. I told him for that price, I'll get an Acura TL, Honda Accord EXV6 (I can get it for $23K) or a left over Acura CL Type S.
He agreed 100%.
BTW, EVERY Toyota on the lot that I looked at had the ToyoGuard. It is a $600+ option (That seems mandatory)
I think the invoice on this pkg is around $159 over at KBB.
They are making a profit of $441 if an uninformed buyer goes for the ploy.
I still really like the Solara, BUT when I can get an Accord coupe with similar options (in some ways better equipped), and slightly better gas mileage for about $23K, I start to wonder what is wrong with the SE region.
#180 of 672 my favorite package feature
Aug 16, 2003 (9:08 pm)
Apparently you don't recognize sarcasm when you see it! Yes, they do include this "feature" as a part of the package and I find it to be comical.
I just don't have quite the same missionary zeal you seem to have for feeling the situation is outrageous. In our country, if you have more knowledge, you are always free to pursue a better deal. In a communist country, they "protect" everyone to make sure that everyone has an equally miserable life (except for the party leaders).
You a certainly free to drive across as many state borders as you wish. I might just choose to negotiate a better deal (knowing the approximate margins in distributor applied option packages) or change brands, since nothing is forcing me to buy a Toyota. I have done both in the past. If a distributor gets too greedy, educated consumers eventually punish them. The market works fairly well, but it works best for the enlightened.
#181 of 672 Distributor Options & ToyoGuard
Aug 16, 2003 (9:19 pm)
I also find many of the distributor options to be very undesirable. The best way to get an idea of what is available is to look at one of the dealer web sites that provides a regional search feature. I did it yesterday and I found that about half of the 04 Solaras in the southeast did not have ToyoGuard. I have bought cars including the package in the past, but I always let the dealer know that I am not going to pay $600 for that option. I really find some of the other distributor installed options to be even poorer values or less desirable and I just make sure to factor them into any purchase decision. Nobody is forcing anyone to buy these cars!
#182 of 672 maxamillion1
Aug 17, 2003 (4:56 am)
"BTW, EVERY Toyota on the lot that I looked at had the ToyoGuard. It is a $600+ option (That seems mandatory)"
Yeah, it seems the number is higher than 50%, more like 75% from what I've seen. Also they seem to like to put it on the more popular colors like silver or white, while the less popular ones are usually the few that don't have it.
"I think the invoice on this pkg is around $159 over at KBB.
They are making a profit of $441 if an uninformed buyer goes for the ploy."
Exactly. And of course invoice is not true dealer cost, so it'll be lower. And then on top of that what the distributor paid is even lower than the dealer cost so you can see that all this stuff they give you is close to worthless. I would hope most dealers would simply make you only pay $100 for the package if you showed them that you know the invoice and make it clear you don't want the package, but somehow I feel you'll have to haggle over that as well. And of course you're still out of the $100.
And let's not forget that usually in the fine print for getting a rebate that it must be taken from the dealer stock. I'd like to know if ordering a car will let you qualify for the rebate as well. Anybody know about this?
Yes for $29k there are better choices out there. No we can't pay or haggle on the $26k MSRP price, we have to start from $29k and hope we can get it down to $26k. We'll probably think we got a great deal, when in fact we only haggled down to MSRP.
#183 of 672 94supra
Aug 17, 2003 (5:12 am)
I agree. If they want to force paint sealant and rustproofing on their cars, that's their choice and it's my choice to take it or leave it. It's like paying above MSRP for the latest and hottest car. Some people simply won't do it, others are willing to do it. If no one was doing it then dealers would stop charging more than MSRP. I'm not arguing this. What I'm saying is that even the customer with some knowledge has to work around this at every dealer. This isn't just one dealer, every dealer in an entire region is doing this. Which brings me back to my question. If someone was to order a car then are they qualified to receive a current rebate that the cars on the lot get? If they can, and you can order exactly what you want from these distributors without having to take any accessories or packages AND receive the rebates or special financing AND be able to haggle on it as if it was sitting on the lot then I have no problem. The question is is this scenario possible?
#184 of 672 How to avoid the ToyoGuard Pkg.
Aug 17, 2003 (5:36 am)
1. Go accross state borders into a neighboring state that sells Toyotas without the ToyoGuard pkg.
2. Buy a competitior's car. (e.g instead of Camry LE, how about Altima 2.5S or Accord LX?)
The rebates on the Toyota cars probably don't apply to the custom orders, as does the low financing. The reason they offer these in the first place is to move cars on dealer lots- the ones with the ToyoGuard pkg.