Dealerships

Toyota rolling out online vehicle purchasing, including financing, nationwide

Toyota has made it possible to buy a vehicle, including financing, without leaving home.

Photo by fizkes/Getty Images

Not visiting your local Toyota dealership is getting even easier. Toyota Motor North America (TNMA) has revealed the next iteration of its SmartPath retail experience, which allows customers to have the flexibility of doing the entire vehicle purchasing process online, including financing. Volkswagen rolled out a similar program last year.

TMNA worked in partnership with Toyota Financial Services (TFS) on the project, the pace of which was accelerated in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Digital Shopping Study showing two out of three shoppers are more likely to purchase a vehicle 100 percent online.

The SmartPath service allows customers to choose the right path to ownership for them. They can start their journey online and come back to it later, complete their purchase at a dealership, or complete their purchase entirely online. At no time will SmartPath leave the internet, go to the break room, make a cup of coffee, and pretend to be negotiating a better rate for you.

Toyota SmartPath Toyota has laid out a complete path to ownership via online sales.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

"Our goal is to ensure we create the best experience for our customers and our dealers," said Jack Hollis, senior vice president, Automotive Operations, TMNA. "As our customers' expectations evolve, SmartPath provides our dealers the technology to exceed those expectations. Our shared mission is to make the experience of shopping, buying, and owning a Toyota as easy and carefree as driving one."

Currently, SmartPath is available to customers in select markets at more than 50 dealerships. An additional 50 dealerships will go online with the purchasing platform this spring. Toyota intends to aggressively enroll more dealers through 2021.

This year and next are expected to be busy ones for Toyota as they gear up to launch a next-generation Tundra along with other models that have undergone revisions, giving buyers more choices at as they shop online fro their next new vehicle.

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Honda notified dealers of upcoming supply cuts.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda, like all major automakers today, is truly a global operation. Though it produces plenty of vehicles here in the United States, many of the components it relies on for manufacturing come from elsewhere in the world. That means Honda, like the other auto giants, needs its global supply chain operating smoothly in order to prevent disruption. Unfortunately for Honda dealers and potential customers, disruption is what's about to happen. The automaker recently sent a letter to its dealers, forecasting reduced vehicle supply in the coming weeks.


2021 Honda Ridgeline No. 19 - Honda Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


The dealer letter, posted to the Civic XI forum and fan site, was dated August 25 and confirmed by a dealer upset with the development, according to Automotive News. In the letter, Honda cites the ongoing pandemic and microchip shortages as major factors impacting its production efforts. Total shipments to dealers could be cut by up to 40 percent, but not all models will be affected to the same degree.

The letter noted that supplies of the Pilot and Passport SUVs will hold steady, and shared that production of the Civic hatchback is on schedule. However, the situation is fluid and could change at any time, so there's a chance that timelines could speed up or slack off as necessary.


2022 Honda Pilot Some models will see more cuts than others.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc


Honda is just the latest in a long line of automakers struggling to keep pace with demand in the face of several converging global crises. In an effort to keep vehicles rolling out of factories, General Motors has implemented selective feature cuts in some of its new vehicles, such as the removal of engine start/stop tech from some trucks and SUVs. Earlier this month, Ford Motor Company told Mustang Mach-E buyers to expect delays of at least six weeks as it grapples with the chip shortage, and will temporarily reduce production capacity at a few of its plants.

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Vehicle sales numbers

Toyota has sold over 50 million Corollas

Toyota has sold tens of millions of Corollas over the last 55 years.

Toyota

The Toyota Corolla entered its 12th generation in 2019, after more than 50 years on sale. Now, in 2021, the automaker says the car has reached another benchmark, this time with an almost unbelievable number attached to it. In Today, Toyota says that in July 2021, it sold the 50-millionth Corolla. That's almost one Corolla sold for every six Americans alive today, though the sales total includes international vehicles as well.


1969 Toyota Corolla The Corolla's frugal powertrain helped it grow quickly in the United States.Toyota


The Corolla debuted in 1966 but didn't make its way to our shores until spring 1968. Sold as a 1969 model, the car had a starting price of around $1,700 at a time when the median household income was $7,700. The first cars had a short-stroke 1,077-cc four-cylinder engine, 12-inch wheels, and a four-speed manual transmission. That powertrain produced only 60 horsepower, which was good for the car to (eventually) reach 60 mph in about 17 seconds.

Though the car's quality and design helped, it was the oil crisis in the early 1970s that really pushed it to the top of buyers' lists. Big American cars powered by V8 engines fell out of favor as fuel rationing and higher prices took hold. The early Corolla's fuel economy of over 35 mpg helped it earn a place in many Americans' driveways as a result.


2021 Toyota Corolla Cross 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation


Toyota notes that it was building Corollas in the United States by the mid-1980s and says that the current generation car is built at its manufacturing facility in Mississippi. The automaker's new joint plant with Mazda, which is located in Huntsville, Alabama, will start building the new Corolla Cross this summer.

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