Toyota Puts Pedal to the Metal on Deals

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Trying to rebound from the recall catastrophe, Toyota is wooing customers with huge incentives—cash back, cheap leases, zero-percent financing, and more.

Not long ago, it seemed like you had to know someone just to be put on the waiting list to buy a Prius. Now, leases are available for just $179 a month, per the Toyota website, which pumps up the fact that the manufacturer has rolled out its “biggest offers ever.” No-interest financing is available for eight Toyota models over a five-year period, and there are plenty of cash-back offers too: $1,500 on a Sienna, $1,000 back on Yaris, and so on. The offers are available through April 5.

The sales come on the heels of an awful couple of months for Toyota, as the NY Times notes:

Toyota’s sales fell 9 percent in February and are down 12 percent this year. The company has recalled more than eight million vehicles, including six million in the United States, to fix problems with the accelerator pedal or, in the case of the Toyota Prius and two other hybrid cars, the braking system.

Even with the incentives, is it a good idea to buy a Toyota? Edmunds has some advice for anyone considering a car—new or used—that has been recalled for whatever reason:

If you decide to go shopping for one of the vehicles on the recall list, hopefully you will not find any recalled vehicles still on the lot, ready to be sold. Still, you should check with the salesman and ask him to run the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) just to be sure. Or look at the VIN yourself on the plaque at the base of the windshield. If the VIN starts with the letter “J” the vehicle was built made in Japan and does not contain the faulty mechanism which led to the recall.

In negotiations, you can create leverage to get a lower price by expressing your concern over the safety issue in the recall. Even just saying, “I’m reluctant to make an offer because all I hear on the news is about these recalls. I mean, is it really safe?” Predictably, they will assure you that driving one of their cars is safer than being in Fort Knox, but it could shave the price even further.