Study finds Toyota fails to sway many new car shoppers

(January 18, 2011) IRVINE, Calif. (PRNewswire) — Kelley Blue Book today announced the release of its special report Toyota: One Year Later, providing an in-depth look at Toyota one year after its major recall crisis began in January 2010.

The comprehensive report from Kelley Blue Book's includes a detailed look at Toyota's new- and used-car values over the past year; up-to-date shopper data providing consumer opinions, vehicle consideration and safety perceptions of Toyota since the recall crisis began; expert industry analysis from's executive market analysts; and more.

Report Overview

Despite Toyota's recall woes of 2010, the brand's used-car values held strong throughout the year.

Among the best-performing used Toyotas were 2007-2009 model-years Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Sienna and Yaris, primarily due to their offering of solid fuel economy in an affordable package.

2007 Camry one of best
performing used cars

Meanwhile, used vehicles from Toyota's luxury sister brand Lexus underperformed the market throughout 2010 along with all luxury brands, primarily due to the economic concerns of used-car shoppers.

Toyota's 2010 new-car sales were flat while the industry improved, and the company relied upon heavy incentive spending to spur new-car demand. While Toyota launched aggressive incentives in March 2010 during the midst of the recall crisis, overall the company's incentive spending for 2010 was in line with its competitors. However, despite relatively flat sales for the year, Toyota's loss of new-car market share in 2010 was very pronounced, as consumers seemed hesitant to purchase new Toyota vehicles

With regard to new-car residual values, Kelley Blue Book analysts predict that any long-term negative affects to Toyota's residuals will not be due to recall stigma, but rather because of other factors in the marketplace affecting Toyota's residual values, such as softening in the fuel-efficient vehicle segments, aging fleet designs and the aforementioned spurts of heavy incentives spending throughout 2010.

Even with all of its recall troubles, Toyota managed to maintain its second-place brand residual standing behind top brand Subaru for 2011.

While Kelley Blue Book's valuation analysis shows that Toyota fared well overall during the past year considering all that the brand endured, data from Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence reveals that the Toyota recall crisis of 2010 heavily impacted the opinions, considerations and perceptions of new-car shoppers.

Nearly three-quarters of surveyed shoppers were aware of Toyota's 2010 recall problems, and more than half of respondents said they believe that Toyota's brand reputation has been tarnished by the recalls. However, 40 percent indicated they believe Toyota has adequately resolved its problems related to the recalls.

Toyota's overall purchase consideration was depressed throughout 2010, with data from the latest quarter (Q4 2010) showing purchase consideration at an all-time low in the last four years. †In addition, consumer perception of Toyota safety ratings also experienced an all-time low throughout 2010, and it continues to remain significantly lower than previous years.

As for Toyota's new-car traffic on Kelley Blue Book's, which can be a leading indicator of new-car sales patterns, the brand's overall traffic is down six percent in the last year. However, specific model performance remains mixed, with the Corolla, Camry and RAV4 experiencing declines in traffic on over the past year, while the Sienna, Prius, Highlander and Tacoma experienced increased traffic on throughout 2010.