Toyota is trying to stop new car “resellers” from jacking up prices

As thousands of Toyota customers struggle with long wait times, the company wants to find a way to discourage opportunistic resellers who “roll over” nearly new vehicles for a quick profit.

Toyota Spain is calling on consumer authorities to introduce regulations that discourage buyers of almost new cars from selling their vehicles for a quick buck, and curb “resellers” as thousands of customers remain stuck in line.

The crisis has created a disturbing trend: some customers offer to sell their place in the queue or resell their vehicle for more than the recommended asking price to buyers who don’t want to wait.

While many industry analysts say these are simply the forces of supply and demand, Toyota Australia says the practice of “flipping” or “short-cycling” a new car puts overpaying customers at a disadvantage. of the odds, and to anyone who waits patiently in line.

“We have spent decades building trust around our brand and it is quite disturbing to think that we have some (customers) who are short-cycling our cars to make money,” said Sean Hanley, head of sales and marketing for Toyota Australia. and a 30-year veteran of the automotive industry.

“We need to protect our customers from that kind of behavior as best we can,” he said, drawing a comparison to scalpers who hoard tickets to live shows and then sell them for more than the box office price.

“We want this situation to change,” Hanley said. “We want customers to pay a fair and reasonable price based on the manufacturer’s retail price.

“Used cars are a different matter. But for a new car, we don’t want customers paying above the odds. We intend to investigate as much as we can within the legality of the Australian Competition and Consumer Law to try to (find a solution).

“I urge governments and authorities to consider this proposal and what is happening in the market now, because the important thing is to protect consumers. However, we are seeing (overcharging by private resellers), so we have to work together to say ‘hey, this has to end’.”

“That’s why it’s so profoundly important that we take that leadership position (to address) any kind of price gouging, any kind of price gouging. We have to stop that. Not just at Toyota, but as an industry.”

In Japan and North America, some car dealers insist that customers sign a document agreeing never to sell the car again for a quick profit; however, such a requirement is illegal in Australia.

“We are very aware of the legalities around these types of activities,” said Mr. Hanley. “So we would have to clarify everything that we legally do within the Australian Consumer Law and Competition Law.

“But it is something that I think we have to challenge, because we have control over what we can and cannot do to protect consumers in terms of prices and guarantees.

“And yet we have a situation here right now, where we all seem to be looking at each other (asking) what can we do?”

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for over 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice/Drive in 2018 and has been a World Car of the Year judge for over 10 years.

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