No one reading this will assert the current environment is anything but a seller’s market. Numerous vehicles are being hawked for many thousands (in some cases, tens of thousands) over sticker and a vast amount of machines are pre-sold before they arrive at dealerships on the back of a hauler. And all that assumes there are any rigs to be had at all.
One customer north of the border is alleging they have been denied the opportunity to buy a vehicle unless they also agreed to take roughly $3,000 worth of warranties and rustproofing. The dealer, of course, denies it all.
According to Global News in Ontario, customer Joo-Young Kim alleges he was told he’d have to pop for those items after agreeing, via telephone, to a $57,000 transaction price for a 2021 Toyota Highlander. After arriving at the dealer, Toyota on the Park which is located in North York just outside of Toronto, Kim says he asked for a set of floor mats to be thrown in with the deal. We’ll note here that, in our current bizzarro world of vehicle economics, the answer from The Tower is likely to be a hard ‘no’.
Nevertheless, ask he did. And when the sales rep returned to Kim after a quick discussion with someone who’s actually able to make a decision, the asking price had apparently risen by over $3,000 to “$60,000 and change”. In what we can imagine was a conversation with plenty of sputtering, Kim says he learned he’d “have to purchase extended warranty and rust-proofing or they won’t sell me the car”.
Kim further claims he asked the salesperson to revisit the business manager’s desk for clarity. “One minute later he came back and said, ‘No, the business manager is firm: we’re not going to sell you the car unless you purchase extended warranty and rust-proofing,’” said Kim. He refused.
When contacted by Global, Matt Treacy – the GM for the place – refused to be interviewed on camera (there’s a surprise) but denied the whole thing. “I’ve not been able to confirm that same story at my end,” he told the Canadian news outlet, presumably while printing up fresh batches of TruCoat brochures and neatly arranging his golf trophies. He did say the situation was likely “poorly handled” in some respects, which is a damning statement to make in reference to either the business manager or sales rep. Since sh*t tends to run downhill, you can bet the profitable business office won’t take the flack for this at tomorrow’s morning sales meeting.
Look, there’s no doubt that dealers are currently very much in the driver’s seat and are free to charge whatever the hell they want for what few machines they have on their lot (or showing up on next week’s truck). Allegations abound of customers ordering a particular vehicle only to find the asking price has been jacked skyward once the paperwork has been drawn up, a phenomenon affecting popular rigs like the new Bronco.
But your author has toiled in the front end of a new-car store for too many years to disbelieve that, in a fit of profit-seeking, a business manager wouldn’t at least think about trying to pencil a leg or hold a few points. In the current climate, that temptation is surely greater. Absent any hard proof, of course, we will not say with certainty this happened at Toyota on the Park. We’ll leave you, the B&B, to draw your own conclusions.
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