No Markup Necessary: Toyota To Sell the GR Corolla Via Lottery in Japan

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague
no markup necessary toyota to sell the gr corolla via lottery in japan

If you’ve even slightly considered throwing your hat in the ring to buy a new Toyota GR Corolla, you probably came face to face with the dual buzzsaws of dealer markups and minimal supply. Toyota Japan has its act much more together and appears to want to do the right thing with its buyers because it recently announced that GR Corollas would be sold through a lottery system.

Hopeful Japanese buyers will have a chance at one of 500 units, but Toyota says it may consider further production if demand is strong enough. The automaker initially planned to sell the car through Japanese dealers, but COVID-19 and the brutal microchip shortage led Toyota to create the lottery system to distribute the cars fairly.

The situation here in the U.S. is the exact opposite, where Toyota sidestepped reservations and preorders, instead letting its dealers dole out the cars. That means that the vast majority of the cars sold are listed for $10,000 more, $15,000 more, and sometimes even much more over MSRP than that. The car may offer performance and an experience that’s worth the marked-up amount, but it’s a frustrating situation for buyers. Over at my site, I called 25 dealers to find that none were willing to sell the car for less than $15,000 over, and none would take a deposit to get one at MSRP. 

Toyota currently only offers the GR Corolla Core here, which is the entry-level trim. The Circuit Edition comes in the spring of 2023, and the super-limited Morizo Edition will land in the winter of 2023. The Japanese lottery system and Toyota’s comments on further production are positive signs for prospective American buyers, so let’s be hopeful that people can actually buy the car before it’s gone. 

[Image: Toyota]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Dec 07, 2022

    Speaking of dealer markups, here is a fun game to play. (Well, since some of you already know everything, it won't be as fun for you.)

  • Varezhka Varezhka on Dec 08, 2022

    If there's one (small) downside to the dealer not being allowed to sell above MSRP, it's that now we get a lot of people signing up for the car with zero intention of keeping the car they bought. We end up with a lot of "lightly used" examples on sale for a huge mark-up, including those self-purchased by the dealerships themselves. I'm sure this is what we'll end up seeing with GR Corolla in Japan as well.

    This is also why the Land Cruiser has a 4 year waitlist in Japan (36K USD starting MSRP -> buy and immediately flip for 10, 20K more -> profit)

    I'm not sure if there's a good solution for this apart from setting the MSRP higher to match what the market allows, though this lottery system is probably as close as we can get.

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