At an upcoming dealer meeting in Las Vegas next month, Toyota will ask its dealers to stop advertising cars below invoice in an attempt to help keep residual values higher and keep dealers from competing in a “race to the bottom,” Automotive News is reporting.
If accepted, Toyota would join Honda in penalizing dealers who advertise cars below invoice. According to the report, after three reported violations in one year, Honda could withhold marketing money from a dealer — which could be $400 per vehicle. It’s unclear how Toyota may penalize its dealers who don’t comply with the proposed new rule.
No-haggle pricing! It’s kind of the zombie of the auto industry. How, you ask? Well:
- Touching it makes your dealership sick
- It periodically comes back from the dead
- The nerd/geek crowd loves to talk about it
- It doesn’t actually exist
It’s also typically something that’s embraced by losers, whether the “loser” in question is a troubled dealership trying to remake its image after a complete decapitation of the leadership/ownership, a troubled brand trying to differentiate itself (Scion), or a troubled automaker clutching at straws in the face of overwhelming competition (General Motors, with Saturn). But Lexus, the latest brand to give it a shot, doesn’t know the meaning of the word “loser”. Its lineup is bulletproof, both in terms of durability and customer perception. Its dealers are obscenely profitable and generally immune to the worst of the customer-abuse excesses for which mainline Toyota stores are justifiably famous.
So why jump on a strategy that has never, ever worked for any brand that doesn’t own the majority of its retail outlets? Perhaps the answer has something to do with Ellen Pao.
Imagine if you will.
The world’s largest and most consistently successful automaker is in deep trouble. Not because of profits, but because of products.
Scion — the youth focused, geriatric-coveted Toyota Junior Team brand — is looking to push sales in a different direction as it tries to shed its “retiree in an xB” image in favor of #millenials Snapchatting their road trips in Scion iMs.
According to The Detroit Bureau, Scion wants to offer their wares online in more markets in an effort to appeal to younger consumers who don’t want to take test drives, I guess.
When is a Scion not a Scion? Since Scion is division of Toyota, this is both a trick question and a serious one.
Scions can be anything from tweaked Toyotas and foreign market Toyotas to cars built by other manufacturers for Scion. The first such product was the collaboratively developed Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86. The second is this Mazda-designed and Mazda-built Scion iA.
To wonder aloud: How long can cool be, you know, cool?
For Scion, “cool” has a half-life of around 12 years and the youth-oriented brand from Toyota has a significant turn to right the ship back toward sales from the its first year in America. Last month, Scion posted a 20-percent dip in sales, discontinued two models — iQ and xD — and spelled out an end for its xB — the only Scion to post anything resembling sales growth.
Is it better to be dead or cool? Didn’t Kurt Cobain write a song about this?
The embargo is over for the 2016 Scion iA and iM, as pricing and other features have been officially announced.
According to Car & Driver, the folks in Toyota City are smitten with the new Mazda MX-5 Miata. So much so they’re considering using the platform for the next Toyota GT86, sold as the Scion FR-S in North America.
The rumor states what goes for Toyota goes for Subaru’s sports car – the BRZ – as well. I’m not so sure about that.
Via a poster on Scion iM Forum, pricing for the rebadged Toyota Auris has escaped onto the Internet for all to consider.
Regulation. It dictates the majority of modern car design. Whether it be for pedestrian safety, crash worthiness, economies of scale, or fuel efficiency, the basic building blocks of modern cars are decided well before pencil is met with freshly-bleached paper (or, these days, before stylus meets tablet).
That last item – fuel efficiency – is as much a matter of aerodynamics as it is what’s under the hood, and aerodynamic efficiency isn’t just about fenders and trunk lids.
Which brings me to wheels – specifically, OEM wheels – and how absolutely ugly they’ve gotten the last few years.