My dealership buying experience...(it's gonna be a long one)

I have gotten a lot of questions about dealership markups as well my overall experience while purchasing the new 4th gen Tacoma so I wanted to make a post about my personal buying experience....and it's going to be a long one so you've been forewarned 😂

I'll start by saying that I live in SoCal, San Diego area, which definitely makes a huge difference on pricing since everything here is so dang expensive. At the beginning of January when I first decided that I was going to list my previous 2017 TRD Off-road Tacoma for sale and get a 2024, I went to a local dealership, Mossy Toyota, to leave a refundable deposit for them to begin working on allocating a truck for me. I only had a few requirements... TRD Off-road package (I was open to upgraded packages as long as it didn't include a moon roof), 5 ft. bed, double cab, and had to be in the color Supersonic Red. I posted my 2017 up for sale a few weeks after leaving the deposit around mid-January and 3 weeks later it was sold.

I then went back to that dealership to find out the status of the vehicle they were trying to allocate for me, only to find out that they hadn't made any moves on it wit the excuse being that I "hadn't sold my truck yet". At that point I was pretty frustrated so I got back my deposit and I began looking outside of SD county and up near Orange county and LA county. What I quickly learned was the markups in San Diego were outrageously more than they were a few hours up north. The average mark up price on these trucks in San Diego was about $6-8K where it was about half that or none at all for majority of the dealerships in the OC/LA area.

I ended up finding one vehicle with my requested specs at South Coast Toyota as well as one at Westminster Toyota. However, South Coast had a mark up-closer to $4k where as Westminster didn't have one--they were only charging for the upgraded package and add-ons. These were the only two trucks that I could find in a 300 mile radius that had what I wanted and weren't already reserved so I reserved them at both dealerships but had different experiences with that process. South Coast was requiring a $1000 deposit, to run credit, and to sign a contract agreeing to a price point before the truck got in. I made the deposit at South Coast but did not want to run credit or sign any contracts. Luckily , I was able to stall on this due to not having a vehicle at the time and living about 2 hrs away and basically kept making excuses but they let me know that until I did all three, the vehicle was not fully reserved for me 🤷‍♀️ As for Westminster, they asked for a deposit which I was willing to do but they never actually charged my card but for whatever reason, still reserved the truck. I still continued to shop around in the area but all the other vehicles with my desired specs were already reserved so I got my name down as a back-up buyer for a few of them.

After about two weeks, both vehicles at Westminster and South Coast were in an "F" or "freight" status and were awaiting shipment. I was hoping that the one from Westminster would get here first as it was the cheaper option of the two but that one ended up getting delayed for 42 days due to a quality control hold. At that point the other dealership was starting to get pushy about the credit run and signing contracts which I was still pushing off. The following day I received a call from Cerritos Toyota where I was a back-up buyer for a vehicle that was already reserved. They let me know that their buyer fell through and they were expecting the truck to arrive within the next few days. I let them know I was interested and they said they would reserve the vehicle for me-no asking of a deposit, no credit checks, no contract-just super easy about it all. Two days later, the truck arrived, they called me and I went down and purchased the truck.

After all the waiting and back and forth with all these different dealerships, it ended up being the best case scenario as I got exactly what I wanted, didn't have to jump through hoops of deposits, credit checks, etc. and no technical "mark up".... just a ridiculous add on fee for ceramic coating done by the dealership when the vehicle arrived for around $1k-which to me is basically mark up lol. However, at that point I hadn't had a vehicle in over a month and was getting a little desperate and due to them being in such high demand, I was alright with paying what I did. I ended up getting the TRD off-road Upgrade Package (I will attach a photo of exact specs of the package below) and they added the upgraded 14-in media touchscreen. Overall, the process was a bit of a headache due to selling my previous truck a little too quickly but I am happy with how it all worked out and I can say that Cerritos Toyota made that a super simple process.

Anyways, thank you for listening to my Ted Talk. 🫡😂


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Not really. I tried talking down the ceramic fee but the guy wasn't budging on it but I probably could've kept pushing him on it but I didn't. I did however get the extended warranty for 8 years with bumper to bumper coverage talked down to half the price though
 
I hear ya about the MSRP hikes. Same thing in South Florida. I could have travelled further north, for a bit of a price cut, but decided for convenience. And to the latter point, I think once you put a deposit down, it’s harder to negotiate. They know you want it.
 
Yeah I think they knew I was pretty set on the truck at that point and I'm sure they sensed that but overall, I'm okay with what I paid. Could've been alot worse. What would've been awesome though is if the APR rates weren't such crap right now lol
 

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