Toyota has massively under-estimated the popularity – and the price – of the limited edition hot hatch, say dealers.
A chronic shortage in the allocation of the Toyota GR Yaris Rallye hot hatch for Australia has infuriated local dealers who are holding deposits but don’t have enough cars and will now need to turn away buyers.
Only 200 of the limited edition cars have been allocated to the Toyota Australia network of 315 outlets and CarAdvice has been told all examples are already spoken for.
The Toyota GR Yaris Rallye is the more exclusive version of the regular GR Yaris, which went on sale at $39,950 drive-away before another 100 examples were released at $44,950 drive-away.
The Rallye edition (a European version of which is pictured above and below) gains sticky Michelin tyres, lighter wheels and front and rear limited-slip differentials and has a price of $56,200 drive-away, which is almost two-and-a-half times the price of a regular Yaris.
Dealers across Australia who were lucky enough to secure one example of the Toyota GR Yaris Rallye have been forced to hand back deposits to eager buyers who placed an order before the price was released.
Dealer sources have told CarAdvice that Australia was initially allocated 280 examples of the flagship Toyota GR Yaris Rallye special edition before the number was revised down to 250 and then, finally, 200.
“The only hope now is that we can secure another 200 or cars in the next run next year,” said one Toyota dealer. “But people aren’t going to wait that long.”
Another Toyota dealer representative was more blunt: “It’s been a disaster. The car was too cheap and we didn’t get enough. Of course you want to create a buzz, but this is just (upsetting) customers now. It’s not been handled well.”
When asked last month if the GR Yaris was priced too low initially, Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley said he wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Toyota thought the first 1000 cars might last a year, but they sold out in a week. The next 100 examples of the regular GR Yaris model – which were $5000 dearer – sold out in a month.
“The base car should have been $49,000 drive-away and the Rallye should have been $59,000 drive-away and they still would have sold them all,” said another Toyota dealer.
Toyota Australia is now desperately trying to secure more examples of either version of the Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch, but CarAdvice understands the next batch of cars aren’t due until the second half of next year.
The pent-up demand has seen some early buyers trying to turn a quick profit, advertising their spot in the queue for up to $55,000 drive-away for the regular model.
Given most examples sold for just $39,950 drive-away, that will deliver some speculators a tidy profit of $15,000, which is more than Toyota Japan or Toyota dealers are making on the car.
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