Absurd Toyota BZ4X Markups Are a Bad Sign for Upcoming Enthusiast Cars
Toyota hasn’t seen huge markups like other brands, but that may change as hot new cars like the GR Corolla and manual Supra hit the lot.
When it comes to dealer markups, all I can do is sit back and laugh anymore. Lord knows someone is gonna pay it, but it's not gonna be me! Take a few examples Carbuzz spotted, for instance. The publication found several dealerships across the country that want serious money for Toyota's plain-jane new electric crossover, the bZ4X. A car that—if it's anything like the Subaru Solterra, which is mostly the same vehicle—will just sort of exist. (At least the Solterra qualifies for a federal tax credit.)
However, these markups may preview something we haven't yet seen from Toyota, which is a hot product hitting the market during the current era of supply-chain hell in which we live. The Supra and GR86 have been marked up somewhat, as has the RAV4 Prime, but it's nothing compared to say the C8 Corvette, Hummer EV, or Ford Bronco. Toyota buyers, too, have signaled they won't stand for excessive markups too; 4Runner buyers aren't scared of naming names. Now, Toyota will roll out the red carpet for not only its first fully electric vehicle, but also cars that enthusiasts have been frothing at the mouth over for a long time: the GR Corolla, stick-shift Supra, and more.
Before we go headfirst into pure speculation though, we should take a peek—just a peek—at the prices of those new electric Toyotas.
The most expensive Toyota bZ4X (what a great, memorable name for a vehicle) that I was able to spec on Toyota's website cost $55,548, and that's with all the garbage like the door edge guards, the universal tablet holder, and the first-aid kit with the PPE. I'm pretty sure I have like 10 floor mats at this point too; it's going to be very plush inside my new bZ4X. Even then, I can't match the most expensive bZ4X that Toyota of Portland in Oregon is selling. The dealership has not only added another $4,297 worth of aftermarket gimmicks to the white car above, but also a $9,999 markup. Yes, be prepared to pay $66,000 for an EV with 214 horsepower, a curb weight just north of 5,000 pounds, and 222 miles of range. Also keep in mind Carbuzz's other example was even more extreme. Koons Toyota, which has several locations on the East Coast, was allegedly trying to sell one for $77,278. It appears the listing has since been modified or removed from the dealer's site, however.
Keeping all of this in mind, consider how much the GR Corolla is going to be marked up. There will be just 6,600 sent to the United States, distributed among just under 1,300 dealers. That's right about five cars per dealer in an ideal situation. Of course, though, some locations will likely get less while others get more. If a dealer gets, say, just a single GR Corolla, we all know they're going to try and get every penny they can for it. I wouldn't put markups pushing sales prices into the six-figure range out of the question. Lord forgive me for saying that.
The manual-equipped Supra is likely a very similar beast. There don't seem to be any hard production limitations on how many the Japanese automaker will build, but supply-chain restraints will likely throw a wrench in things either way. Also, not many Supras are sold, anyway. In 2021, 6,830 were delivered to owners in the United States according to CarSalesBase. Even if that number improves in 2022 and 2023, only a fraction of these new cars will be equipped with a manual transmission. These 3.0-liter vehicles, which already start at over $50,000, will also likely fetch extreme markups.
That's without mentioning other upcoming Toyota products, including the new Sequoia. Vehicles coming in 2024, like the new Tacoma and 4Runner, may be affected if supply-chain issues continue. All of a sudden there are all of these new, desirable Toyota products being released and an inconsistent, constrained supply of materials to actually build them.
So car prices are probably going to get worse before they get better, as usual. At least when it comes to new desirable vehicles. Toyota might want to think about taking actions similar to several American automakers and threaten to cut allocations if dealers try to make excessive profits on supply-constrained hot, new offerings. If I had to bet, though, that's probably not gonna happen. With limited supply, many dealers do need to markup the inventory they have to some degree in order to make ends meet. Arguing over what sum is actually appropriate, though—that's a whole can of worms Toyota probably doesn't wanna open.
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