Late last year, we called more than two dozen Toyota dealers to find that the 2023 GR Corolla is being listed with a $15,000 average markup. The automaker’s release plan for the car has resulted in extremely limited inventory, so dealers have taken the opportunity to gouge for a few more dollars while the hype lasts. We recently saw the first GR Corolla cross the virtual auction block at Cars & Bids, and the no-reserve auction result apparently didn’t cover the seller’s marked-up original purchase price.
We don’t know for sure what the seller paid, but after the auction, they noted that the final bid didn’t cover their costs. Interestingly, the winning bidder was a dealer, so they’ll likely try to make a few extra dollars on a sale of their own.
As tempting as it is to mock the seller, this still-ridiculous auction amount is a promising sign that people aren’t excited about paying more than cars are worth, even when it’s a special model. Fewer people paying markups at dealers and in private sales means sellers have less incentive to list with absurd markups.
The GR Corolla isn’t cheap at its almost $40,000 base price, but it’s absurd to think of paying nearly $50,000 after even a modest markup. There are dozens of great cars, both new and used, at that price point, many of which dwarf the GR Corolla’s performance numbers. The market is packed with lightly used Audi RS3s at around $50,000, and a solid Toyota Supra can be had for that amount.
Used car prices aren’t stuck in the upward trajectory they followed over the last year, so it’s likely that buying a marked-up new car yields disappointing sales numbers a few months later. The GR Corolla is a fantastic car, but Toyota has said it’s open to building more if there is strong demand, so there’s no reason to believe the car will be scarce forever. This is another situation where patience will likely pay off, so we’re happy to sit back and watch for now.