Toyota looking at price hikes, halting imports due to tariffs


In case you hadn’t heard, the entire automotive industry, both domestic and foreign, is very much against the automotive tariffs proposed by the Trump administration. And while the industry is lobbying hard against such tariffs, companies are also having to consider what to do in the event they are passed. CEO of Toyota’s North American operations, Jim Lentz, told Bloomberg that the company will certainly be reconsidering its strategy in the event of tariffs between 10 and 25 percent the cost of the car. He told the news outlet that, depending on how high the tariffs are, Toyota might just increase the price of some models, or stop importing them altogether.

Toyota does build a large number of its cars here in the United States. The Toyota Camry, Avalon, Tundra, Highlander, Sequoia, Sienna models are all built here, as well as some Tacomas, Corolla sedans, and Lexus ES sedans. Many of those vehicles are big sellers for Toyota, too, so that’s good for the company.

But many other Toyotas are built outside the country. The Toyota RAV4, Prius range, C-HR, Corolla hatchback, Land Cruiser, 86, Yaris, Yaris sedan, Mirai, 4Runner, and the entire Lexus line are built in other countries.

Some of these imports we’re sure are safe no matter how high the tariffs might be. The RAV4 is the company’s biggest seller, and the Prius sells well, too. Even if the Prius wasn’t selling so well, the company would probably still sell it simply because it’s an image builder. Somewhat related, we imagine Toyota would continue offering a handful of Mirais. The 4Runner, C-HR and Corolla hatchback would probably be safe, too. If these models stick around after potential tariffs are imposed, expect their prices to increase.

But in the Toyota line, anything that’s not selling well and has tight margins is probably doomed. Chief among them are the French-built Yaris hatchback and the Mexican-built Yaris iA sedan. Both cars have terrible sales, and being low-end cheap cars, they’ll only sell worse with higher prices, and Toyota will lose money if it has to eat the tariff. The 86 is a similar situation in which it’s a niche vehicle that has had weak sales and is being sold at a relatively low price. The Land Cruiser could go either way. It sells in small numbers, but it’s already extremely expensive and continues to sell. Buyers might not be put off by spending some more.

Moving over to the Lexus side of things, mainstream models are undoubtedly safe such as the IS, GS and LS sedans, and especially the NX, RX, GX and LX SUVs. The RC and LC coupes might be in a tough spot because their sales are pretty small compared with the other models. But as luxury products, they all may have some room to increase prices somewhat. We’ll have to see what happens with tariffs to have a better sense of the particular impact on Toyota and Lexus.

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Source : AutoBlog