After discussing the need for a new vehicle for several weeks, we decided that it was time to go shopping for a new car.
When my husband needed leg braces for mobility, he stopped driving and we gave his car to our son. Since then, we’ve used my older, but reliable Toyota Venza for our short trips to the cottage and for errands in town.
The car has relatively low mileage on the odometer. It’s in great condition but 10 years old. We decided that we didn’t want to worry about the possibility of a breakdown in inclement weather. Two older people in an older car don’t mix well! Since we can’t do anything about our age, it’s time to replace the car!
After some internet research, we decided to buy another Toyota. Over the years we have owned cars and SUVs from General Motors, Nissan, Ford and Acura. Most often, though we have driven Toyotas and found them reliable.
Changes at Car Dealerships
Full of anticipation, we drove to a nearby dealership. We walked into a showroom that was practically empty. There were only three or four vehicles in the showroom. It was a smaller dealership which made us think that inventory was limited there.
All cars except for a fancy, low-riding sports model had ‘SOLD’ signs. We were told that they had been ordered months before but were on display until the new owners picked them up.
No High-Pressure Sales Tactics
The salesman who greeted us was happy to spend time explaining shortages due to supply chain issues, computer chip shortages, and high demand for Toyota cars and trucks.
The price of each model was clear. It was also clear that the price listed was indeed, the price. No negotiations were entertained due to limited supply. If any negotiation were to happen it might come on the trade price if we chose to trade in our car rather than sell it privately.
We discussed the pros and cons of buying a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or an electric vehicle including payback on fuel savings.
Every question was answered to our satisfaction. The salesperson provided printed information on pricing and model choices.
Used Vehicles Priced as high or higher than new
There were used vehicles on the lot so we inquired about a used car. None were hybrids. All were older and most had high odometer readings. We asked ourselves why we would buy another used vehicle to replace the used vehicle that we already own.
After coming home, I began searching Toyota dealerships as far away as Toronto. There were several newish hybrid models listed. Some were ‘demonstrators’ with low odometer readings. The price reduction for a used vehicle was minimal — only about $200 or $300! The only advantage of buying a used vehicle was that the wait time would be eliminated.
Long lead time for Ordering a Vehicle
The biggest surprise of our visit to a Toyota dealership was hearing the lead time for ordering. From reading news reports and researching the internet, we knew that we might wait a few months for a new Toyota.
Imagine our shock when the minimum wait time was quoted as 6 – 12 months! For the model we wanted (a Venza), the wait would be about 12 -18 months as Venzas were no longer made anywhere in North America. These cars are made only in Japan and shipped to customers in Canada and the US. No guarantee of the expected time of arrival could be provided.
Bigger Dealership — Same Story
After contemplating the choices, we visited a much larger dealership a few days later. What a surprise to see no vehicles in the huge spotless showroom!
Again, we met a salesperson who was happy to explain the options of various models as well as the prices. The wait times and prices were almost identical to what we had learned at the first stop. The advantage of ordering through this larger dealership was that payment of only a small amount of money allowed placement of an order with cancellation and return of the down payment. Apparently, there are waiting lists for popular new vehicles and the dealer sells any new car that arrives!
Who would ever imagine that buying a car would be so difficult? The cost of any vehicle is substantial. The average price for a new car in Canada is between $55,000 and $60,000 plus taxes. It’s substantial!
Dealers make money on financing, trade-ins, and leases. For people like us who buy a car as a cash deal, a dealer makes less money. With increased interest rates and high sticker prices, one would expect fewer people in the market and cancellations of previous new vehicle orders. Not so! As the salespeople at both dealerships told us, Toyotas are in high demand because of their reliability.
After several more hours of internet research and price checks at various dealerships, we decided that ordering a new car from Japan was the only way to get what we want. It’s hard to consider that we won’t get our car until sometime in late 2024! We went back to the larger dealership and placed our order.
In the meantime, we will drive the car that we already own, keep maintaining it, and keep our fingers crossed that it won’t require expensive repairs while we wait!