Toyota NA Veep Jim Lentz: Credit Crisis? What Credit Crisis?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
toyota na veep jim lentz credit crisis what credit crisis

Perhaps Toyota Sales Chief Jim Lentz would like to type the words “credit crisis cars” into his Google bar. Because Jimbo doesn’t think that credit’s the main problem with a U.S. new car market that’s pretty much stopped dead in its tracks. “The vast majority of our customers are able to get approved for loans,” Jim Lentz told The Detroit News after cutting the ribbon on the ToMoCo’s new research-and-development center in Michigan. “In our case, credit is not the biggest challenge. Our biggest challenge is consumer confidence.” Ah, in our case. You know, for the automaker who could STILL buy BOTH Ford AND GM with their projected 2008 profits. That said, Lentz isn’t the only one who says you want a loan? We got loans! “‘There’s no issue at all with above-average credit,’ said Alan Helfman, owner of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep in Houston, adding that he is also still doing deals for customers with bad credit, albeit fewer than he was a year ago. ‘Hurricane Ike was a bigger problem for us than the credit crisis.'” You ain’t seen nothin’ yet Al. Or, if you have, you better get used to it. Just sayin’

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
4 of 9 comments
  • R H R H on Oct 10, 2008

    1996ME> Wow...I always thought car prices relative to income were CHEAP compared to the rest of the world. I have read many places on the internet ("I read it on the internet, it must be true!") that US car sales are subsidized by europe, south america, etc. Not true??

  • RobertSD RobertSD on Oct 10, 2008
    no_slushbox: Toyota has the [s]decency[/s] profitability to admit that while Ford and GM whine that sub prime loans need to get purchased by the government so that more subprime loans can be made. It's funny. On the Ford September sales call I heard something to the effect of "the people that should get loans are. Those who should not get loans are not." Oh wait... That doesn't sound like Ford is whining for subprime loans to be purchased so they can issue more. I can't speak for GM - they aren't quite as transparent - but I bet they're seeing the same thing from every lender but GMAC. As for Toyota, if you don't believe Toyota has issued subprime loans, you are completely deluding yourself.
  • RobertSD RobertSD on Oct 10, 2008

    Used cars typically see stronger residuals in "normal" economic downturns where credit is still available, but people are pinching pennies. However, given that there is no credit and auto companies are making up for it with deeper discounts, I would assume that the used car market may actually get hurt in this market. It is likely that both Honda and Toyota will see drops in residuals (Toyota more than Honda). It is likely, however, that the residual drops will be less bad at Ford and GM for their newer products and SUVs vs. the industry since everyone is so price sensitive in downturns. And when I say less bad, it's like falling 15 feet or 20 feet - either way, you're not doing great...

  • No_slushbox No_slushbox on Oct 10, 2008
    RobertSD It's not that Toyota hasn't relied on subprime loans for some of its sales, its that, because it hasn't been managed horribly for the last 30 years, Toyota can afford to lose the sales that were funded by subprime loans without going bankrupt. Not so much for Ford and GM.