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We don’t know how much the 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Core and 2023 Circuit Edition are going to cost. We do know how many of these two variants Toyota plans to produce, and based on that, we expect they’re going to cost a lot. Not based on Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, but on how much artificially low supply will create superheated demand. Toyota said artisans at the Motomachi plant will hand-build 8,600 GR Corollas for global consumption. The U.S. market will get 5,100 units of the 2022 GR Corolla Core, 1,500 units of the GR Corolla Circuit Edition. The rest of the world fights for the remaining 2,000 units.
Here’s the napkin math: There are about 1,270 Toyota dealers in the U.S., making an average allocation of four Core trims per dealer, and about one Circuit Edition per dealer. When Carscoops wrote a few dealers to ask about making a reservation, one salesperson responded, “No pricing, no timing. I can say that every dealer has been allocated about 3. Only 3.” We can already hear the markups rumbling like magma in a chamber, getting ready to blow. There will be a small blow-off valve, though, in that the Core model isn’t production limited as far as we know. The hot hatch continues after 2022, so anyone shoveling ADM cash into dealer coffers is doing so because they want to be first (admittedly, a popular thing to do nowadays). The Circuit Edition, however, is reportedly one-and-done; after the 2023 model year, it’s toast. Toyota could run special editions like it does with TRD trims of other models, doing a limited-run version every model year, but that’s conjecture.
What’s not conjecture is dealers taking more reservations than the situation warrants. Toyota North America’s VP of marketing told Road & Track at the beginning of the month, “I wouldn’t say the limiting factor on these vehicles is our ability to produce them. It’s being very careful to make sure that we maintain the niche credibility,” and that the automaker wanted to build “one too few” of the GR Corolla. When overall light duty vehicle sales in the U.S. are still in a state of being several million vehicles too few for demand, and anything limited edition is a fresh carcass thrown into a bear pit, we applaud Toyota’s crystal ball maestros for having any idea of how many one too few is. The claimed sales strategy made it no surprise when, two weeks later, Toyota North America’s SVP of automotive operations told the same outlet, “We have places right now and parts of the country where there are so many orders being taken, we have to stop.”
The extreme strain on the system has put dealer allocation math into focus. Jalopnik said it spoke to someone “familiar with Toyota’s allocation process,” and if the described formula is accurate, the lottery system often used in Japan for special models might make a better outcome. For now, looks to us like another storm is coming.
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