Toyota Australia wants to find a way to stop people buying its most supply-restricted cars for the purpose of selling them at a markup.
These so-called scalpers have thrived in a car market where shortages and all-time high demand have conspired to drive wait times into multiple years – allowing them to capitalise on people miles back in the queue.
Toyota Australia vice-president of sales, marketing and franchise operations, Sean Hanley, this week called on regulators to consider ways to help quash these speculators just out to turn a quick buck.
“We want to discourage any sort of reselling and short cycling,” Mr Hanley said.
“We think it’s deeply important that we take a leadership position on this particularly now. We’ve spent decades building trust around our brand, and it’s quite disturbing to think that we have a few that are short-cycling our cars to make money.
“I think we need to protect, as best we can, our customers from those types of behaviours.”
Mr Hanley said TMCA had the means to step in if dealers crossed the line by charging over RRP on strictly new vehicles – though there’s little to stop anyone selling a low-mileage demo for a markup as dictated by basic supply and demand.
“Our issue is resellers short-cycling, scalping,” he added.
“Trust is everything right now. And the only thing that got us through COVID and the reason we’re sitting here enjoying what we’re enjoying in the Toyota brand right now is trust that was built up not over two years, but built up over decades.
“We’ve seen behaviours, some out of our control, some within our control, that don’t necessarily align with the values that we’ve learned.
“Five years ago, we wouldn’t have had that discussion with anyone. [Now] I’m happy to have that discussion. And I want it changed. I want this situation changed where customers are paying a fair and reasonable price based on the manufacturer’s retail price position.
“Used cars are a different matter, but for a new car, I don’t want customers paying over the odds and we intend to investigate everything we can within the legalities of Australian Consumer Competition rules to try to bring that together.
“And I urge governments and authorities to please consider this proposition and what’s happening in the market now because we’re all about protecting consumers, yet this is going on. We’ve have got to work together to say ‘hey, this has got to stop’.”
Another issue is around dealer delivery fees, which are recommended but not enforced by law.
“We have very strong governance around dealer delivery fees,” Mr Hanley claimed.
In February this year, Toyota Australia said it would also take a dim view toward excessive prices being advertised by its franchise dealers on demos – as examples of then-near-new LandCruiser 300 Series’ listed with massive markups proliferated in the classifieds.
But legally there’s little that can be done to control pricing on used vehicles.