Toyota Tells Dealers Working as Fast as Can to Rebuild Inventory

The automaker won’t hold back on production in order to maintain high prices and low incentives, dealers are told at the annual NADA make meeting, which retailers say featured several rounds of applause, including for the newly redesigned Toyota Prius hybrid sedan.

Jim Henry, Contributor

January 28, 2023

2 Min Read
Toyota dealership Picture
It may take until second-half 2023 for dealer inventories to return to normal levels, Toyota says.Getty Images

DALLAS – Toyota Motor North America promises U.S. dealers it is rebuilding an adequate new-vehicle inventory as quickly as possible but says stocks on dealer lots may not rise much through at least the first part of 2023.

“We’re going to build every one we can get parts for,” says David Christ, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Div.

In an interview prior to the standing-room-only make meeting at the 2023 NADA Show here, Christ (pictured, below left) says U.S. dealerships ended 2022 with an average of only five days’ supply due to high demand and production that was handicapped by supply-chain issues.

Before dealers start to see a build-up on their lots this year, it will be necessary to whittle down waiting lists, he says.

David Christ-Toyota.jpg

David Christ-Toyota

“What we tell the dealers is, ‘You may be getting more cars, but you’re not going to see a stock increase at first,’” because so many new vehicles will arrive pre-sold, he says. “We’d much rather park them in (customers’) driveways than in a dealer’s lot.”

Christ says customer waiting lists are as long as a year for some versions of the fullsize Toyota Sequoia, a three-row SUV that was redesigned in 2022 for the ʼ23 model year.

At the same time, Christ says he is reassuring dealers Toyota is doing its utmost to increase production. Some industry analysts say they expect OEMs in general, not necessarily Toyota, to slow-walk any production ramp-up in order to prolong the current era of short supplies, high prices and low incentives.

“If production were to be unfettered tomorrow, we’re going to go after it,” Christ says.

Following the make meeting, dealers confirm Christ and other executives delivered that exact message. “Almost word-for-word,” says Des Moines, IA, dealer Jason Willis. “The relationship with Toyota and Lexus is as good as any manufacturer in the industry.”

Willis is CEO and dealer principal for Willis Automotive, with dealerships for Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mini, Nissan and Volvo.

Kentucky dealer Steve Gates, 2023 chairman of the Toyota National Dealer Council, says dealers had no questions for Toyota executives, largely because the automaker and the retailers are in constant communication.

Gates owns Gates Auto Family, based in Richmond, KY. The group has a total of 11 new-vehicle stores in Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, including three Toyota dealerships and a Lexus store, plus Audi, Chevrolet-Buick-GMC, Ford-Lincoln, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Nissan dealerships.

He says dealers applauded at various points in the make meeting, including a standing ovation for the redesigned Toyota Prius, which gets sleeker, more conventional styling for the ʼ23 model year.

“Whoever thought the Prius would get applause?” Gates says. “But it did.”

About the Author(s)

Jim Henry

Contributor

Jim Henry is a freelance writer and editor, a veteran reporter on the auto retail beat, with decades of experience writing for Automotive News, WardsAuto, Forbes.com, and others. He's an alumnus of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. 

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