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2008 Toyota Highlander

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Comments

  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    Be that as it may, I see little logic in the way they pick and choose their options. If someone can explain it to me, I'd like to hear it.
  • flipwilsonflipwilson Posts: 12
    That's crap!!! With that pricing you are well within striking distance of a Lexus GX470. (my last vehicle that I had to get rid of due to employer policy) I paid $36800 2 years ago for a GX470 w/nav, mark levinson, and dvd player. The arrogance of these dealers really bothers me. I truly hope that GM, and the other CUV makers embarass Toyota this quarter in sales.
  • mtairyordgemtairyordge Posts: 144
    Your impressions are interesting to me. I have owned 3 HL Limited in the past 2001/03/04. IMHO the feel for the road was just right. I drove a Sport model yesterday and the drive felt 'mushy'. Almost nonexistent while going straight and then coming back when turrning. Always feeling stable but reminding me of those old Cadillac or God forbid my dad's old Grand Marquis -I call it the Hawaii 5-0 car because it is wht the lead character drove.

    This is troublesome to me why did Toyota take the rode feel away. I am looking to replace my 04 and will be test driving a limited later. But it sounds like I will be waiting for the Pilot redesign or moving up to a MDX. And I don't want to spend the extra money in operating the MDX.

    Anyone know when the Pilot Desiel is coming?
  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    I was basically referring to ride and cornering ability. I agree that steering feel in all of them is totally lacking. I guess this is due to the electically boosted power steering but I would like more. It's not a sports car though so I can personally overlook it. For driving feel, I'd prefer an MDX among SUVs.
  • epineyepiney Posts: 462
    You have got to be kidding. On a rare or limited production car maybe, but a Highlander. Give me a break. I think this is short sighted of the dealer. They will drop soon enough and any dealer that does that goes to the rock bottom of my list for ALL future purchases.

    Fitzmall is advertising $1000 over invoice with TTL for comparison. That's got to be an $8000 spread.

    Anyways, HL is off my list without going to look at it. I would have bought an AWD limited with option C, but at over $40K with no memory seats and mirrors, forget it. At that price I have the Acura MDX, Volvo XC90 and Buick Enclave as viable options. Heck even the Hyundai Veracruz has memory seats for less money. Not to mention, I personally think the HL styling is boring, middle of the road and non offensive. Typical Toyota.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    One of the reasons dealers put market adjustment stickers on the windows is that they don't want to sell the vehicles!!!

    When the initial launch is made usually there are 1 or 2 or 3 vehicles rather than the 40 or 60 that should be in stock. If the 3 are sold then nothing is available to show to the rest of the public.

    However if a buyer absolutely has to have the very first one...and is willing to pay for the privilege... then why not? It a free country, nobody was holding a gun to the buyer's head. He could have waited 60 days or so. As long as it's fairly applied and clear in advance it's just the market at work.

    When the FJ's came out our Service Manager had to have one of the first ones. Normally we can buy at $450 over invoice ( we can get an FJ now at that price ) but he had to have one of the first ones...so he paid $1000 over MSRP.
  • hsvillagehsvillage Posts: 36
    I'm getting ready to buy an 2008 Highlander and have been looking at dealers that post their selling price on the internet. I'm familiar with Fitzgeralds in MD.& Taylor Toyota in Va. but does anyone know of other Toyota dealers in the continental U.S. that publish selling prices on the internet? I bought our 2001 Highlander from King's in Ohio over the 'net/phone and it worked out very well. They posted their prices and it beat our locals (Arkansas) by over $2K, plus no dickering/stalling, "I'll have to ask my manager" etc. Thanks for any help.
  • sallen10sallen10 Posts: 30
    There is plenty of logic. The packages are assembled with two buyers in mind: (a) the cheapskate who only wants a model with the minimum and (2) everyone else who would really like the better bells and whistles. Trouble is we too don't want to pay too much, but we will on account of the packages as assembled which optimizes profitability. Sadly, optimizing profitability does not maximize customer happiness which is really what you are remarking about.
  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    So they only want to sell to two buyers? I'd think they'd want to sell to many more. I see more than two option packages by region so your explanation falls down.

    I don't want to pay for options I don't want, a sunroof forinstance. I also see little logic in how the option packages are assembled (in other words, why those combinations for package a, etc.).
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    The best case scenario would be to have each Highlander custom-configured at the factory to each buyer's requirements. Want a sunroof but not the JBL audio? Sure. Want all options except the power rear door? No problem.

    Obviously that can't be done for a high-volume automobile. They have to build them based on what each region thinks will satisfy the most buyers. It's the 80/20 rule. Not everyone is going to be happy, but hopefully you'll be able to satisfy a majority of your buyers (otherwise you will be left with a lot of unsold inventory).

    Frankly, I'm not sure if there is a better, feasible alternative. Honda seems to release various model grades with no options. In the past, it was relatively simple -- DX, LX, EX. Now, when you look at their lineups, you have an EX with leather, EX with navigation, etc. That seems more confusing and even less flexible to me, IMHO.

    Nissan uses option packages that are factory-mandated, as opposed to being ordered as a package by a region. This means that if a factory package includes seat heaters, for example, I'm going to get those heaters even if they are of no use to me in my region where the temperature never goes below 70 degrees. That seems very inflexible to me as well.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    I'm sure Toyota has released, and the dealership has sold, redesigned vehilces before, and there is a method to their madness.

    The first 60 days have limited supply, so buyers who can't wait until a full compliment of vehicles is received tend to fall into those categories rather easily, or they can wait until more vehicles arrive.

    The "I want NAV, but no moonroof" buyers can wait.

    Since discounts are hard to come by, buyers who want the latest, but at a low price, can get a lightly equipped model. Those that can't buy a car without NAV and other doodads will usually go for the gusto models. Or at least test drive them, and get sold on the hair and make-up.

    The model you really want is probably 60 days away. Dealers know you are weak. They're knida like women, although they aren't universally hated, but that's a story for another forum.... :blush:

    DrFill
  • dsw61dsw61 Posts: 2
    I had my second test drive today. I still think the steering is too light and lacks on center feel, but it's not a deal breaker. Overall I thought the ride was smooth and quiet, even over some rough pavement.

    The big problem I have with the vehicle is the seating configuration. You are very limited with the number of passengers and cargo you can comfortably carry. I can't believe they didn't offer a 2nd row 60/40 split bench and a 50/50 split 3rd bench. The second row middle seat is a joke. I don't think I would ever use it because it is so uncomfortable.

    On a positive note, the front seats and 2nd row captains seats are very comfortable.

    IMO the seating configuration is going to limit sales somewhat. The dealership I was at had at least eight on the lot. My salesman said that they weren't dealing yet, but he didn't think it would be long before they would have to start.

    My gut feeling is that Toyota missed the mark with the new Highlander because of the seating configuration. Don't get me wrong, the Highlander will sell just fine because of Toyota's reputation for quality. But I don't think the overall design is good enough to command a premium price for very long, given the competition.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The you get into manufacturing productivity. This is where Toyota and Honda veer sharply away from the domestics. With the Big 3 you can order what you want and theyll build it ala carte.

    With Honda you have NO OPTIONS.
    With toyota you have combined packages.

    Limiting the variations increases productivity during manufacturing, this increase the length of the runs which decreases downtime and potential processing errors...and increases profits.

    Every time Honda and Toyota come out with a new model it's the same discussion over and over and over. Then in 3 months there are all the variations you might want.. Life goes on
  • hvan3hvan3 Posts: 630
    I have to say, the new 08 Highlander is quite an ugly looking, cost reduction vehicle. It looks just like another Mitsubishi Outlander!
  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    I get the reason for option packages. I have a degree in operations analysis. I'm pretty familiar with manufacturing processes. Part of what I'm saying is if Toyota wants to have options packages, then do it. Don't imply on Toyota's corporate site that I can get certain options and then feed me off to a regional site that disagrees. I'm not asking for options that don't exist. The parts are in the factory. I'm asking for them to be combined slightly differently than they are usually. That just takes some typing into a computer.

    Also, sure, Honda/Acura has option packages. No problem. The difference is those packages are nationwide and set by Honda, not some regional distributor.

    It doesn't matter really. I have zero sympathy for Toyota in this case. I know what they can do as far as manufacturing and I know what kind of people tend to work at dealers and at the regional level.

    It's pure stupidity that gets perpetuated because nobody thinks to try and do it better. The problems they've had with the Tundra launch bear out what I'm saying.
  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    So what in its class is better?
  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    Discounts don't seem that hard to come by. I got a dealer to agree to 3% above (invoice - holdback).
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    "One of the reasons dealers put market adjustment stickers on the windows is that they don't want to sell the vehicles!!! "

    I disagree with you on this spidey. :shades: The reason some dealers do this is they hope to "snag" an ignorant, uninformed buyer. :blush:

    "1000.00 over MSRP"

    Heck, you have to change stores, I buy all my new cars at invoice or below. I can't believe you guys actually sold your service manager at $1000.00 over MSRP! :mad:

    Mackabee
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    "I have a degree in operations analysis. I'm pretty familiar with manufacturing processes."

    Obviously not with Toyota's processes. ;) Toyota builds cars very differently than any other manufacturer of cars or widgets, or what have you. It's called the Toyota Production System, or TPS for short. Part of that system is the Just in Time system which consists of having only the parts that are needed for the vehicle being built two hours before they are needed.

    "The parts are in the factory."
    There are no spare parts laying around in the factory. I guess you forgot to read the fine print at the corporate website and on the brochures that states: "Not all options available in all regions. See your local dealer for availability"? or words to that effect.

    "I know what kind of people tend to work at dealers and at the regional level."
    And what kind of people would those be Sir?

    "The problems they've had with the Tundra launch bear out what I'm saying."
    And what problems would those be?
    Mackabee
  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    All manufacturers do JIT at this point. Also, most aren't building cars in batches of single models with a single combination of options. There will be one Ltd followed by one Sport followed by a base and so on. This is completely compatible with JIT.

    The cars for all regions are coming from the same factory so, there's no manufacturing reason the options shouldn't be available everywhere in the US. The "region" thing is stupid. If any other manufacturer does this, I haven't run across it. Does Nissan? Does Honda? I don't think so. Subaru doesn't. The Americans don't and the Europeans certainly don't.

    What kind of people work at dealers/regional distributors? The kind that totally misread the truck market and decided to order way too many base V6 Tundras and not nearly enough V8 4x4's with the extended cab. Read previous posts in this forum.

    If you're saying that people working in car dealers are highly educated geniuses, I'd love for you to direct me to one in my area.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    The reason some dealers do this is they hope to "snag" an ignorant, uninformed buyer.

    I agree. This isn't something new to Highlanders or even Toyota, in general. If an uninformed buyer doesn't know any better, they actually think "bargaining down" to MSRP is an excellent deal.

    I can't believe you guys actually sold your service manager at $1000.00 over MSRP!

    Supply and demand, pure and simple. If we all expect to pay less than the "suggested retail price," then I guess it's fair that a dealer can ask for a price higher than MSRP.

    My salesperson told me that their employee discount still does not apply to the Prius or Camry Hybrids -- they pay MSRP (or slightly below) like everyone else.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    It's pure stupidity that gets perpetuated because nobody thinks to try and do it better.

    OK, I'll ask the question. What would you suggest as an alternative?

    I prefer each region's ability to create their own packages. If you want to know what's available in your region, you simply enter your zip code on the corporate site. That's not that difficult.

    That's better than forcing me to take options in a national "package" that make no sense for my region.

    Don't imply on Toyota's corporate site that I can get certain options and then feed me off to a regional site that disagrees.

    The language is pretty clear to me on the Toyota corporate site (and I don't even have a degree in operations analysis :)).

    "Not all options/packages are available separately and some may not be available in all regions of the country."

    Would you care to suggest another way to present the various regional combinations on the corporate site?
  • verdugoverdugo Posts: 2,020
    "OK, I'll ask the question. What would you suggest as an alternative? "

    How about the best of both worlds? Keep regional packages, but also allow customers to custom order any option they want.

    Only a very small percentage would want to something that is not available in their region. This way, you wouldn't lose the sale.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Part of what I'm saying is if Toyota wants to have options packages, then do it. Don't imply on Toyota's corporate site that I can get certain options and then feed me off to a regional site that disagrees. I'm not asking for options that don't exist. The parts are in the factory. I'm asking for them to be combined slightly differently than they are usually. That just takes some typing into a computer.

    ./.

    It doesn't matter really. I have zero sympathy for Toyota in this case. I know what they can do as far as manufacturing and I know what kind of people tend to work at dealers and at the regional level.


    Now you're into marketing. Each regional market is different Toyota prefers keeping the control at the regional level.

    You don't have to have any sympathy for Toyota, it's not like they are in trouble in any way. This marketing structure has made them the pre-eminent marketer in the auto industry, the one every other wants to emulate. It works better than any other system so kudos rather than sympathy cards is probably the right choice.

    But no system will please everyone. Again this discussion comes up over and over again with each new launch. It aims to please the greatest number of potential customers most efficiently. Some will be annoyed and pass, most won't.
  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    Custom orders, assuming they're based on otherwise available options, should be totally compatible with a JIT inventory system.

    Differing options by region might make sense in a few small cases (like the cold weather package makes no sense in FL) but are people's needs that much different across the country otherwise? Can you really say more people in Kansas want the rear entertainment system than people in CA or New England? I somehow doubt it.

    Also, how many people in New England really want sunfoofs? It seems like a lot based on what dealers/regions order but everyone I know with a sunroof barely uses it.
  • jeffer3jeffer3 Posts: 22
    One of the reasons I bought a Subaru was exactly because of the way most manufacturers package their options, including Toyota. I live in the North East and in order to get heated seats you are usually forced to a LTD with leather. I know that may be changing and I haven't gotten up to speed with all the changes but Subaru offers heated seats with every model including cloth seats. Why should us poor people have to freeze our *sses off because we can't afford the luxury high end model or options. That's one of my beefs.
    Another corollary of this is when in order to get one option package they force you to get other options which have nothing to do with the option you want. This, imho, is just a form of gouging the customer. I don't have a discreet example but my impression is that Toyota seems to do a good job at this. Maybe that's where their expertise in marketing science has helped propel them to the top in terms of sales. That not withstanding I think they make some good products but I have been dissuaded from buying precisely because of the available packages force me into the high end to get what I want. I don't want leather and I don't necessarily want a sunroof since I use it about once a year. I do want heated seats, premium sound, and telescoping steering.
    These are my impressions and I'll gladly accept any evidence pro or con and consider changing them as the facts warrant.
    Tx
    Jeffer03
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Posts: 109
    I agree and disagree. The second row captain's give quick access to the third row. Anyone with three kids with at least two in child seats will appreciate the convenience.
    The center seat is more for when you need to seat 7. Uncomfortable similar to a luxury sedan back seat (Two sculpted seats with the 'bump' in the middle).
    I agree that the third row should be split. Without it, you lose often needed cargo space.
    I have two similar configurations in my driveway. I prefer the 4+2(split) when I have 5 or 6 without cargo though the 50/50 third allows for 5 with limited cargo. The 5+2(bench) is good for 5 plus cargo or 6-7 without.
    The split third would allow for the 6 plus cargo or the convenient 3 car seat kids plus room for the large stroller(AKA the minivan).
  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    I have a 2005 Legacy GT. I bought it for the power and AWD mostly. However, with Subaru it's very clear what is and what isn't possible. The GT came with either cloth interior and no sunroof or leather, powerseats and a sunroof. That's it and it didn't matter where in the country you're located.

    The Outbacks and other models were all similar.
  • nxs138nxs138 Posts: 481
    The local salesman here told me he could custom order one, but it might take 3 months for the vehicle to come in.

    I'm looking at the Sport model, and if I'm interested in just NAV and rear DVD as options, I'm out of luck in my region: it appears that I can only get the NAV or the DVD, but not both, and each are packaged with other options such as leather, sunroof, tow prep, dual climate control.

    So I'm confused. Does that mean I can't get NAV and DVD in any configuration?
  • pabloxpablox Posts: 92
    I have seen Ltds with both NAV and DVD. In fact the one I test drove had it.

    It seems that you're saying that the option packages defined by the regions don't meet your needs. Imagine that.
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