Toyota Recall Affecting Used Car Sales

February 15, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
There's just one Toyota at the Auto Depot used car lot in downtown Fresno. It's not even on the recall list, but General Manager Les Misa says because it's a Toyota, it's a tough sell. "We've noticed that our customers, every time we try to point out a Toyota, like this Celica here, they just shy away, they, Oh I heard bad news about them, and they move on to a different car."

Misa says he used to keep a few Camry's and Corolla's on the lot, but has given up for now.

"We're not getting any action on them and I'm not carrying any more of them until that blows over." Misa said. But this could be good news for used car shoppers like Randy Burgess. He was looking at a Chevy Cobalt on the lot.

"We're just looking for a car similar to this a four door commuter car something reliable."

Burgess says he's also looking at used Toyota's. The recall issues aren't a big concern for him.

"Definitely wouldn't be afraid of a Toyota, if it had been looked at and was safe." He said.

But there's enough uncertainty to push used Toyota prices down. Kelly Blue Book estimates a 5 % drop.

Good news if you're looking to buy, but what if you're looking to trade in a Toyota? But auto analyst Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds.com says it's a bad time, with expected values down at least 10%.

"So, right now our advice to consumers is if you have one of these affected vehicles hold on to it. Wait for the storm to blow over. Wait for your vehicle to get a fix, and then if you want to trade it in go ahead but as of now I would definitely wait." Caldwell said.

Les Misa says expect to get a lot less right now.

" For instance, if you've got a Corolla that's worth 15 thousand, we'll probably give you 8 thousand, half a book, because we don't want them right now."

As awareness of the cars problems grows, so do the complaints. At the first of the month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had received about 100 complaints about braking issues in the Prius. Now that has surged to more than 1,000.


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