Gus McClelland’s driving his fifth Toyota these days, and is poised to buy a sixth.
And now that the automaker has recalled 2.3 million vehicles in the United States — including some new RAV4s, Corollas and Camrys still awaiting sale on dealer lots — the retired VA worker is counting on a recent bout of procrastination paying off.
“I put it off, and now I’m glad I did,” said McClelland, a Lawrence resident whose pristine-looking 2003 Camry has 140,000 miles on it. “Now, when they get them all fixed, Toyota may put them on sale cheap. I may get a really good deal.”
As repair kits make their way to dealers and changes come to manufacturing plants, others find themselves calculating the economic effects of the safety-related recall, one intended to prevent accelerator pedals from sticking. Federal transportation officials also are investigating reports of defective brakes in the 2010 Toyota Prius.
“If you’re out there driving a Toyota and you have a concern, please let us know and we’ll take care of you, to the best of our knowledge at the time that you call,” said Miles Schnaer, president of Crown Toyota in Lawrence. “We’ll answer all your concerns.”
As the dealership continues selling both new and used cars, Schnaer said he couldn’t predict how the recall would affect values.
“As the No. 1-selling manufacturer in the world, I’m sure that Toyota, over the long haul, is going to continue building quality cars and selling them,” he said.
Last week, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com wasn’t expecting two-, three- and five-year residual values of such vehicles to be affected. Another Kelley analyst has suggested that Toyota owners consider holding off on trading in or selling their vehicles, at least until “the situation clarifies.”
Shirley Martin-Smith, who owns a 2006 Avalon, figures she’ll get her car repaired sometime — and then likely buy another Toyota sometime down the road.
“Toyota’s a good brand,” she said. “They have a problem, but they’ll fix it and we’ll move on.”
McClelland, who bought his first Corolla in 1977, won’t hesitate to replace his trusted Camry once the time is right. “I’ll wait ’til this is all solved,” he said.