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2004 Toyota Solara



  • Knowing Toyota dealers as I do, they probably welded a used car to the Scion to increase it's price. :)
  • Toyota released a lot of new photographs of the 2004 Solara today. They can be seen at Public, type in Solara, Toyota, or something related, etc.
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    Now I understand. You are in the Gulf states distributor, which along with Southeast Toyota distributors are privately owned. All other distributors in the US are owned by Toyota motor sales. I'm not being apologetic about anything, just explaining to you the facts of how Toyota builds cars. Now what these distributors and their dealers do is a different matter and has nothing to do with Toyota the manufacturer. So when you refer to Toyota you are actually referring to the dealers you are visiting. You know I had a bad experience with a local music store when buying a set of drums (Yamaha) the deal didn't go through due to the incompetence of the people working there. Am I pissed at Yamaha? No. Yamaha only makes the drums and ships them to the distributor who in turn ship them to their dealers. Same thing with Toyota. Bill, and Toyota does sell every car they produce. You won't see any 2002's laying around as you would at Ford and Chevy dealers. There's an excellent book called "The Machine That Changed THe World" read it when you get a chance. What is really ironic is that our own Dr. Deming went to Japan and got their manufacturing back on their feet after we bombed the hell out of them and now they are kicking our butts in automobile manufacturing.
                               : )
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    is obviously in California, since he went to a Scion dealer.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    are distributed by Toyota Motor Co. USA, am I right?
  • I understand that Toyota should have control of the persons who distribute their cars. They are the principles and it is their responsibility to see that logic and common sense is used in selling their goods. You should see all of the left over 2002's and 2003's on the dealers lot who tried to order a SE V6 for me. It is as I have said before, insane on the face of it, that the manufacturer has no control over it's products. Just ask yourself, if you were the owner of Toyota, would you let this goofy situation go on and on. No matter how you slice it, Toyota is responsible. The buck stops with them. Your suggestion that Toyota sells every car they make is probably true, but just look at the rebates they must offer to do so. They are not too different from GM or Ford in that way, but do you think that Ford or GM would put up with Gulf States Ford or GM screwing up their ordering system? Not in your lifetime Jessie. As an example of their rebates or discounts to sell leftover cars they offered me a 2003 V6 Sle for l8000. It's sticker said 27,000. Who is fooling who? This car had every kind of puff they could think of on it and I would not want such a car.
  • The Scions were at the local Toyota dealer, outside Chicago, and were not available for sale yet. The added options were all delaer add ons, rims, alarm, etc. It's kinda cute for a teenage kid that can't afford a Mini, or IS300, but EECH! They did have a base model, with few add ons, but it was like looking back in time at a looking, tiny, and not safe looking.
  • Snakerbill, are you suggesting that the Japanese company (Toyota) should break its distribution agreements with the American companies (distributors) that helped them to become successful over 30 years ago? In the early days, theses distributors had to give away cars to get people to buy "those cheap [non-permissible content removed] imports". They were also reviled by certain people for being un-American for importing goods from Japan (who many people of car buying age still hated from WWII). Partly through the work of these distributors, we now have the option of buying higher-quality cars at more reasonable prices.

    I don't like some of the rip-off options any more than you do, but the freedom of America always gives you the right to buy another make/model car or simply select the cars without the offending options. That same freedom gives the distributors their rights to try to make a profit based on their contractual rights and I certainly wouldn't encourage a foreign company to infringe on those rights. I am not in the automotive business, but distributors in all businesses are under intense pressure and cars are no different. Once markets and distribution systems are developed (frequently at great cost and risk) both manufacturers and end-users (including me) usually want to remove the middle-men. Manufacturers play all sorts of interesting games to as they slowly force distributors out of business. These games (which normally reduce distributor profits) drive the distributors to take counter measures that are not always effective. There just aren't any really easy answers that don't infringe on someone.

    If you feel so strongly about the matter, why don't you write a thoughtful letter to the president of Gulf States Toyota. Simply shooting from the hip probably won't get a reply, but if you explain the problem tactfully from your point of view as a consumer, you might get some positive results. Like any business, they want to maximize profit (not the same thing as volume), but they will need to continuously modify their methods as alternative distribution channels and substitute products proliferate.
  • My understanding is that only two privately owned distributors exist. All other distribution is by Toyota USA, so it seems unlikely that these two private companies saved Toyota. Why and how Gulf States Toyota got their foot in the door is a situation about which I have heard several speculations, none of them indicated that they were doing Toyota any favor, or saving this large manufacturer from rack and ruin. Gulf States Toyota has been compared to the mafia, and their business practices seem to support this speculation. Why do you think that they try to get away with charging an outrageous price for polyglycoat and other 2 cent crap. Toyota just stands there and lets them get away with it. If Toyota made a mistake by becoming involved with these crooks, Toyota should buy them out or use any other legal means to rid themselves of this albatross. The fact that the rest of the country does not have to put up with this kind of robbery is proof that this Gulf States Toyota is discriminating against those Americans who live in a certain place. This is, in my opinion, un lawful, and if not unlawful, it is certainly unethical, and poor business practice at best. Yes, I can and probably will buy another brand of car, but why should it be necessary for me to do so, because these crooks have a contract that they probably held a gun to someone's head to obtain? Toyota should stand up and be counted. Perhaps if Toyota loses enough sales they may wake up and do the right thing. There is just no excuse for the type of conduct displayed by Gulf States Toyota. Can you imagine GM or Ford putting up with such crap?
  • Here's the deal with the private distributors vs. TMSUSA. The distributors are responsible for stupid add-ons such as paint sealant, substandard alloy wheels, $200 pinstripes that cost $40 at Maaco, etc. In areas where the private distributors don't exist, many dealers (of all makes, not just Toyota) do this stuff themselves.

    However, the restrictive option packaging is a TMSUSA thing, not a private distributor thing. Even here in the Northeast, where TMSUSA has direct control over distribution, there are highly restrictive available combinations. In fact, in terms of factory options, what I've seen indicates that the privately-controlled Southeast region actually gives the most choices -- except you also have to deal with the distributor's rip-off sticker if you buy down there.

    What Toyota really needs to do is revamp their entire USA distribution system. Make it like GM, where dealers and customers order what they want direct from TMSUSA. There will obviously be some limitations on options so there are not tens of thousands of possible combinations for each model, but they need to get rid of the "mandatory options" and the "all or nothing" (stripped car or $4000 package) problems. Word is that Toyota is in the process of working on this. If they could cut off the private distributors at the same time, they would really be rolling.

    I honestly believe that the main reason why TMSUSA is not the #1 vehicle seller in this country is that a good percentage of their retail customers get scared away by bad packaging, rip-off stickers and surly dealers. If they could take care of those problems, they would be unstoppable.

    -Andrew L
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    could use some redesigning of the options list. When I printed out the options list for a 2004 Toyota Sienna XLE my friend was buying, the options page was seven pages long from Kelly Blue Book. When I went to buy my Odyssey, the options list was 2 pages long. (Color choices)
  • Man, have you got these idiots number. I knew I was not nuts for complaining about the rotten deals that one gets when going to buy a Toyota, but until you posted everyone chided me for not being American or some such crap, and you are the only one who told it like it is. Super. We think alike. More info please. Please read all of the recent posts between me and others, especially Mackabee, and let me know what you think.
  • Guys, I don't know how old you are, but you apparently were not following the automotive industry when these distribution deals were cut. In the 60s almost nobody in the US even knew who/what Toyota was. There was no guarantee that a Toyota distributorship wouldn't be just as good a deal as a Yugo distributorship turned out to be about 25 years later. The distributors didn't "save" a large successful company, they helped to make a large successful company. This was also true in many other global markets where Toyota established themselves by working through distributors.

    I am sure Toyota would love to break their agreements with the distributors, but as long as the distributors are honoring the terms of their contracts, I would hope no US court would allow this to happen. In the long-term disintermediation is inevitable, but in the short-term contracts need to be honored. You have potential leverage in these relationships, but just carping on a chat board isn't going to improve your position.

    I just hope you don't want every big, successful company to screw its partners (who helped them get there in this case) at its first opportunity, if it looks like it will save you a few dollars. Remember, "what goes around comes around" works both ways.

    None of this justifies some of the overpriced option packages, but its just not a case that I want Toyota to resolve buy breaking their distribution deals. At any rate, lets get back to discussing cars!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    "At any rate, lets get back to discussing cars!"

    What an excellent suggestion. In fact, I'll go one step further and mention that there's a hint about the focus of this topic in the discussion title. If you want to continue the current discussion, the News & Views board is the perfect venue. Thanks!


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  • Where are they? i saw a silver Solara with temp plates turning the corner. Only 1. It is far better than the Accord in design. What's up???
  • They seem to be slowly ramping up the distribution. My closest dealer has received a total of 4 so far and has sold 2 of them. They do look pretty nice.

    I am waiting to hear some reports from the early buyers. I will be cross shopping the Solara V6, 04 Camry SE V6 and 04 Acura TL to buy before the end of the year. A bit of a mixed bag, but that is my current list. Since they will all be fairly new (new powertrain for SE), I don't expect big discounts on any of them, but it looks like the Solara might be the near term best buy for a combination of entry level luxury and some sport/touring orientation.
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    This is my last post on this subject. Seems no one is going to convince you of anything. Did you see the article on USA Today on thursday's money section? It's still up there on their website if you'd care to check it out. "Toyota tops Chrysler, posts best U.S. sales in 46 year history" that's 46 years that Toyota has been in the US.

    Supra94, thanks for your input. Have a good weekend.
                           : )
  • So far the dealers in my area are not motivated by my offer to buy 2. The best I have been offered is $500.00 off MSRP on the Solara (in the Norfolk, Va area). Anyone know a dealer I should talk to go to get a fully loaded 2004 Prius and a 2004 SE V6 Solara? I also work in NYC....
  • I just purchased the 2004 Solara last week. So far I am VERY pleased. I had a 2000 SLE Solara in the past and I feel the new model is even better. I purchased an Arctic Frost Pearl (stone int) SE V6 with only the 17" alloys, spoiler and auto dim mirror as options. I'm 6'3" and did NOT want a sunroof. The car looks really nice, especially the interior. The ride is very smooth and the handling nimble. The V6 sings! Big thumbs up.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Try eBay later on. It might just work.
  • mackabee-

    I think snakerbill's point (and mine) is that Toyota's excellent sales are in spite of their packaging and distribution systems, not because of them. If they could streamline that part of their business, they would roll right over DCX.

    -Andrew L
  • Tell the dealer to go to #@^^!!! $500 off! Yikes
  • gpoltgpolt Posts: 113
    Youi may want to try CARMAX in Maryland. They are advertising $1000 off of MSRP (whatever that may actually prove to be) and have a large inventory.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    You may not get your preferred color, however.
  • Thanks for the suggestion. It is close enough that my dealer may take it as a price they should match. I will let you know.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    maybe eBay Motors? They have a SE Sport V6 Stick Shift on the auction block and they also have a few Siennas ready to go.
  • No one said that Toyota does not sell a lot of cars. a l Hubcap explained it to you. If they would quit fooling around they would sell twice as many. That has been my point all along. It still comes down to Toyota letting this problem continue. Perhaps they think they are selling enough cars to try to increase their sales at the expense of a little trouble. What did you think I needed to be convinced about?
  • I can attest that Toyota is certainly trying to reach out to the buying public. I went to a test drive promo today that Toyota arranged just for the Solara. Basically, they had about 10 different Solara's in front of Macy's at the Roosevelt field mall. You sign a waiver, they take your picture and digitally juxtapose it on the cover of a magazine like GQ, you get free drinks and cookies (Mmmm), and then they give you the keys and let you take the car on a test drive over city streets and a little bit of highway. OK, they DO send a representative along with you in the passenger seat, ostensibly to answer all your questions but probably also to ensure that you don't roam too far afield with their car. Afterwards you fill out a short questionnaire and you get a $10.00 gift card to Macy's. I found the whole presentation to be very polished. So did my parents, (die-hard Camry drivers in the midst of a somewhat delayed mid-life crisis I suppose) who are now VERY seriously considering an SLE four cylinder.

    BTW, I drove the V-6 both with and without the Sport package but could not detect any appreciable difference in handling. Also, the shift points for the auto tranny do not seem to take advantage of the V-6's power. Unless I used the auto shift to keep the car in lower gear, the car was in no hurry to go anywhere. Anyone out there with the same experiences or do I just need to spend more time behind the wheel?
  • I found the exact same thing when I drove (finally) several Solaras. I decided to buy a Honda Accord V6 Coupe and get much better engine response and handeling for less money. (LX V6)The suspension on the Accord is way way much better than the Mac Struts on the Solara, and the trans on the Accord seems to be in perfect harmony with the engine. The LX V6 accord also comes standard with an 8 way power drivers seat and a six disc in dash changer, plus all power. Better deal, better discounts, better service, and less hassle than dealing with the rather strange Toyota system, that wants to rip you off with polyglycoat and other junk add ons.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    The suspension differences are there:
    Mac Struts vs. Wishbone Suspension
This discussion has been closed.