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Toyota Meltdown Should Lead to Incredible Deals

February 4, 2010

Toyota MeltdownToyota is in huge trouble right now. Issues that have cropped up among the majority of Toyota's current car offerings are driving down the prices of recent models, and a recall and repair effort might not do much to limit that fall.

While this is bad news for Toyota, this is actually good news for car shoppers because Toyota is in a desperate need to keep up their sales figures.

Toyota has long been seen as a leader in quality, joining Honda in maintaining high residual values even after several years of ownership. Some analysts are arguing that their value will soon be in line with domestic automakers like Ford and General Motors.

The issue is the unintended acceleration that allegedly led to the crash of a Lexus driven by an off duty state trooper in California. Toyota had previously attempted to fix the issue by restricting the movement of floor mats with zip ties, arguing that the pedal had become lodged underneath the fabric.

Now the company is saying that the pedal assembly used in a variety of models is the reason for the recall, including: some 2009-2010 RAV4s, some 2009-2010 Corollas, all 2009-2010 Matrixes, all 2005-2010 Avalons, some 2007-2010 Camrys, some 2010 Highlanders, some 2007-2010 Tundras and all 2008-2010 Sequoias.

There are questions of whether or not the pedal functioning is at fault, or whether the electronic control unit might be behind some of the acceleration issues. The Prius was added to the recall for 2005-2009 models, and former Apple co-owner Steven Wozniak has publicized electronic control issues he faced.

No matter what ends up being the solution, Toyota has taken a major hit in future resale value even if it eventually returns to its previously strong sales figures. Insiders in the automotive industry look at the Ford Explorer/Bridgestone tire recall in 2000, and the plight of Audi in the 1980s as examples of what could happen to Toyota based on current public response.

If you were thinking of buying a Toyota this year, you're now sitting pretty. Toyota is desperate to fix their image and get sales back up. Many car shoppers will be avoiding Toyota like the plague. But consider this: Toyota vehicles are still considered to be great quality. They WILL get the gas peddle issue fixed but their sales are sure to suffer.

We can expect to see some incredible incentives and some incredible deals on Toyota vehicles in the next few months as they try to reclaim lost sales. If you're top priority is to get an incredible deal, this is your perfect storm.

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My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise, and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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