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Bill Radke: In just a few minutes, Toyota’s president holds a news conference. Toyota is considering recalling current model Priuses ito fix a brake problem. Toyota was once known for strong resale values, but who is gonna want a used Toyota now? Well actually, your local Ford dealer might. Marketplace’s Alisa Roth says some of Toyota’s rivals are offering incentives to Toyota owners who trade in and switch loyalties.
Alisa Roth: Do you drive a Toyota? Would you like to reconsider that? Your local GM dealer is here to help. So are Ford and Chrysler. In fact, a lot of competitors are offering incentives to Toyota drivers who want to jump ship.
Mary Ann Keller is an industry analyst. She can’t see how a trade-in will work:
Mary Ann Keller: In today’s world, right now, who will buy a used Toyota? Not too many people. Therefore a dealer cannot value your trade. The auction industry cannot sell Toyotas. So the market for used Toyotas is right now frozen.
A frozen market means nobody knows what a Toyota is worth.
It’s Juan Flores’s job to figure that out. He’s in charge of vehicle valuation at Kelley Blue Book, and he says Toyotas values have only dropped about 2 percent. But the unofficial value could be a lot less than that. He says buy a Toyota through someplace like Craigslist and you could probably get a pretty good deal.
Juan Flores: I’m sure there are a few people that are looking at this vehicle, purchasing it now at a discounted price, and they’re gonna wait a few weeks until they get it repaired.
And Flores says once dealers start selling Toyotas that were recalled, they’ll get even cheaper because there’ll be a glut. And it won’t be just used cars that are a bargain.
Flores: There will be some, again, some downward pressure initially on the new vehicle side, since every consumer that was previously considering a Toyota knows that those vehicles that are sitting on dealers lots have some safety issues.
In any case, though, he thinks this is all temporary. And in a couple of years — after everybody stops talking about this mess — Toyotas will be worth just as much as they were before.
I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.
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