Leasing a Mercedes for the Cost of a Toyota
Is there trouble ahead for Toyota?
That certainly seems possible, at least based on my (exhaustive) experience shopping for a new car lease starting Sept. 1 (keep reading to find out the winner).
From below, Toyota faces intensifying pressure from Kia and Hyundai, which are essentially doing to Toyota and Honda what those two companies did to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler a generation ago.
That is, offer equivalent (or better) quality at a cheaper price — often times with superior gas mileage.
I drove the Sorrento, Santa Fe, and Veracruz — Kia and Hyundai’s SUV offerings — and was impressed by all three.
From above, Toyota and its upper bracket sibling, LEXUS, face a bevy of luxury vehicles from the likes of Porsche, BMW, Audi, Acura, and Infiniti.
And then there’s Mercedes.
I’d never driven one before, but when they slapped a bargain-basement price on the last of their 2011 SUV’s — I jumped.
It also helped that they were offering a $4,000 bounty to existing LEXUS drivers (like me) to switch.
P.S.: One more hurdle for Toyota and LEXUS: their low (or non-existent) inventory of RAV-4’s and RX 350’s, respectively, due to earthquake-related bottlenecks.