Sources have said that the insane new and used car prices we’ve been seeing this last year have plateaued. But it sure looks like this is one long-ass plateau, followed by the world’s most gentle downtrend in the history of downtrends. In short, used and new cars are still very much expensive for a multitude of reasons. Anecdotally, the asking prices on any remotely desirable spec of popular cars are downright bonkers. Toyota trucks, historically overpriced regardless of the state of the market, have been listing at particularly hilarious (or heartbreaking) numbers.
The chip shortage that’s kinking new car production is still very much real, reducing dealership supply. That means the used car market is forked, as lessees and owners are holding onto their cars because there’s nothing to buy. It’s a big, vicious cycle, that’s made it a great time to sell, but one of the worst times to buy. The COVID pandemic seems to be relaxing globally, and factories are slowly ramping up capacity back to the old times, but it’s gonna be a minute till we’re back to something resembling the old normal.
Inflated prices have always been the norm on Toyota pickups and SUVs, people just love these damn things, and now prices are wild enough to make the Monopoly man drop his monocle. 4Runner and Tacoma owners and dealers alike have been pricing their products like corndogs at Disney World — with exceptional markups on (somewhat) pedestrian products.
This brand new 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, is listed in California for nearly $80,000 dollars. Eighty-f’ing-thousand dollars. By comparison, a brand new Range Rover Sport HSE can be had for $20 fewer than this 4Runner.
True, this particular example is well equipped with all sorts of TRD goodies, a lift kit, all-terrain tires, and a few other things thrown at it. Still, at the end of the day, it’s a Toyota 4Runner; an inherently old design, and not a luxury car.
This insanity isn’t just limited to California, either.
Here’s a listing I found for a similar vehicle in my neck of the woods.
This 2021 4Runner TRD Pro is listed near Cleveland for nearly $70,000. Its window sticker shows the MSRP as a mere $53,762.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine sent me this; a used 4Runner TRD Pro listed for $61,000. A VIN title search shows the car was sold for $56,000, only a few months before being purchased and resold at a higher price. This car is being sold for more than new. What the hell is going on?
Listen, the 4Runner is a great truck. Out of the box, it’s excellent off-road and has plenty of space for you and all your crap. With mods, it is near-unstoppable, is exceptionally reliable, and a great truck to buy. No one really makes anything like it anymore, with Nissan and Honda remaining firmly in the crossover segment.
I can’t even hate the game here; I’m a car flipper. Inherently, I want to make money; I buy, recondition, and resell cars to make a profit. 4Runner owners and sellers are seeing dollar signs, and they’re trying to cash in while the gravy train is still rolling. But, is a lifted decked out 4Runner worth $80,000? Is it worth $65,000? Yeah, no, it isn’t.
The market is already starting to right itself to pre-pandemic norms, albeit gradually and slowly. A 4Runner that you’ve paid thousands of dollars over MSRP for probably won’t be worth similarly over MSRP prices in a couple of years. It would be more cost-effective to put that excess $15,000 in a pile, pour gasoline on it, then light a match.
Please. 4Runners are cool trucks. But let’s not overpay for these things, OK? New Ford Bronco owners this all applies to you, too. If nobody pays these preposterous markups, guess what, the prices will come down.