Toyota dealers have been unable to sell eight of their most popular models – representing nearly 60 percent of their usual sales – since the automaker halted sales and production of the cars on January 26. The company plans to tell dealers to resume sales on February 8, but according to reports this morning, some dealers have already begun selling the cars.
Toyota spokesman Mike Michels told the Los Angeles Times, “We now have more than enough parts at dealers to take care of the flow of repairs. Dealers may sell a new car if the repair is made. There is no single point in time when the stop sale would be lifted. It will be car by car.” Production of new cars won’t resume until February 8.
Dealers should not be repairing unsold cars before repairing recalled cars for customers. Kicking Tires notes, “Toyota says that current customers will take precedence over new car sales but that the flow of parts is sufficient enough to handle both needs.”
Tom Rudnai, General Manager of Longo Toyota in El Monte, California told the LA Times his dealership doesn’t perform the recall fix on unsold cars until a buyer shows interest in a particular car. “Unless there's buyer interest, Longo doesn't plan to fix its inventory until customer repairs are completed,” he said.
Only time will tell whether car shoppers have enough faith in Toyota to continue buying the recalled models. The Times notes, “The company expects its quality issues, including suspending sales of eight of its most popular U.S. models, to result in the loss of sales of 100,000 autos this year, including about 80,000 in North America.” There is little precedent for this situation, however, and “Some analysts question whether Toyota had a good feel for how much its recalls and quality issues would cost the company.”
For more information on Toyota's recent problems, including the latest news, please see our Toyota Recall page. If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.