There’s no arguing the fact that Toyota’s RAV4 EV is an impressive car, with a Tesla-engineered drivetrain and battery pack. But it’s also a low-volume compliance car, sold to meet tough California zero emission mandates for automakers.
Sadly for Toyota, the RAV4EV hasn’t sold as many units as it would like, overshadowed by less expensive cars like the Nissan LEAF and more capable cars like the Tesla Model S.
So now Toyota is doing the one thing it knows will sell more cars: put money on the hood.
An American tradition for as long as cars have been sold in dealerships, cash on the hood deals are often used when an automaker or dealer has too many cars in inventory that they need to sell before the model is replaced or a newer version is released.
In this case however, Toyota is putting money on the hood deals forward as a way to ensure that it meets the 2,600 car RAV4 EV sale target set by Californian law by September 2015. At the end of last month, only 1,525 examples had been sold.
When you consider the Toyota RAV4 EV in its base-configuration starts at $49,800 plus a mandatory $860 delivery fee, it’s hardly surprising: most customers who can afford that kind of money for a plug-in car are skipping Toyota altogether and opting for the far longer-range, supercharger-ready Tesla Model S sedan instead.
As Green Car Reports reported earlier today, Toyota is offering a whopping $16,500 in lease incentives to Californians who are willing to sign up for a RAV4 EV by the May 5. The specifics of the lease deal are more than a little complicated however, with the incentive being made up from various smaller incentives designed to reduce the overall cost to the customer.
These range from money off the first month of lease payment, to reduction in capital cost, registration and licensing fees. In addition, the incentives help offset California’s complicated taxation system, which varies greatly from county to county and city to city.
It’s worth noting too that the incentives are aimed at those wanting to lease — not buy — their Toyota RAV4 EV. Since Toyota offers a wide range of lease mileage options ranging from 10,000 miles per year to an ‘unlimited mileage’ option, that will likely suit most buyers.
For those worried that they won’t get to buy their car back at the end of the lease or perhaps haven’t forgotten Toyota for its previous misdemeanours involving the previous-generation Toyota RAV4 EV, Toyota is offering just $2,500 in purchase incentives on top of the usual Federal and state incentives.
That’s hardly a good deal compared to the $16,500 off being offered for lease deal customers.
Either way, if you’re good with maths and can figure your way through the complex and confusing Californian tax laws and Toyota incentives, there might be a deal to be had.
If you’re tempted, let us know. We’re keen to see just how much your monthly payments work out to be.
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