Amid Cash Incentives, Toyota Pushes Back 2010 Camry, Highlander and Venza Launch By One Month
Everybody button down and hold what you’ve got!
By David Surace
In the midst of Toyota’s rather subdued rah-rah over becoming the new, undisputed global leader in automotive sales, executives at the Best Gosh Darned Car Company In The Known Universe are scrambling to reduce inventories and keep them commensurate with the current sub-freezing economy. Toyota is getting ready to offer substantial cash incentives in an effort to move their ’09 vehicles off the lots as quickly as one can do in these temperatures. On top of that, Bloomberg has reported a particularly interesting announcement from Toyota spokesman Bill Kwong: the rollout of the newly-refreshed 2010 Camry, just unveiled at the Detroit Show, will be pushed back to April.
2010 models of the similarly refreshed Highlander and brand-new Venza, expected to hit dealers this month, will start shipping in earnest by February or March. The Venza, which just started blitzing dealers a couple months ago as an ’09, is in particular need to stay in the oven for a while before the ’10s come along. While not a candidate for Toyota’s current round of cash incentives, running through February 2nd, it would be a rather embarrassing situation to pay exactly the same cost for an ’09 Venza as the ’10 model sitting next to it.
Toyota’s cash incentives, which started on the 19th of this month, are focused heavily on their large truck offering, the Tundra: ’09 models get $2000 dealer cash on the hood, while the company swallows $4000 customer cash on the remaining ’08s (in case you’re skeptical about how many of those are still out there, scroll down this list to get a taste).
Surprisingly, there’s also cash on the front deck of the perennial best-selling Camry ($1000 for the customer, $500 for the dealer, non-hybrid models only), Corolla (either $1500 or $1250 depending on which trim level you choose) and even the canonized and beatified Prius ($750).
So does this prove that the mighty Achilles has exposed his weakness? Umm, let’s don’t go shooting arrows at the heels just yet–besides being in the middle of an economic downturn, mid-winter is not typically a time to get people onto your lots, hence the age-old advice that December/January is an excellent time to buy a car. In other words, you might not even HAVE arrows.
These conditions are hurting everyone right now, and Toyota is making very smart moves at the front lines right now, to avoid an embarrassing retreat later.
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