Toyota is keeping a close watch on surging COVID-19 cases, which could further threaten production, said Reynolds, executive vice president of corporate resources, including human resources, for Toyota Motor North America.
Toyota hasn’t had any confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks and was moving ahead to allow employees who have been vaccinated to go maskless if they follow internal protocols.
But Reynolds cautioned that could change rapidly.
“We thought things were starting to turn for the better, but this is affecting everybody, Toyota included,” Reynolds said. “It goes to show that you can never let your guard down, and things are subject to change. It’s the virus that runs the show here; I wish we did.”
With dealer stocks at historic lows, Carter said consumers have shown an uncharacteristic willingness to put deposits on vehicles far up the ordering pipeline and wait for their arrival.
“We’re seeing trucks coming into our dealers carrying nine vehicles, and eight of them have consumer deposits on them,” Carter said. “Preselling is becoming a very, very big part of the industry. Consumers’ preference is still to have every color available to them side by side on the lot, but that’s not the situation we’re in right now.”