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Toyota denies pre-registration allegations

Toyota has hit back at rumours that its dealers were pre-registering cars in March in an attempt to improve sales figures.

The number of registrations by Toyota increased by 6% in the last few days of March, but the manufacturer says this was due to the end of a strong marketing programme for its centres.

“We had a strong first quarter and the reason for the increase was that many cars were bought by customers before certain offers finished at the end of March. We don’t pre-register and we never will,” says a Toyota spokesman.

Since then, several 06-plate Rav4, Avensis and Yaris models have appeared on online retail sites, including newcardiscount.com, indicating that dealers are attempting to get rid of surplus stock.

But Toyota also denies this, saying that it is simply due to supply problems.

“The first quarter of 2006 saw the launch of the Rav4 and it was also the first time we had the full Yaris range available. But we had problems with the supply of both models and more came through at the end of the quarter than we expected,” says the spokesman.

“Our centres can supply cars to whomever they choose and the discounts on offer are within the margins they can discount at,” he adds.

Several dealers we contacted declined to comment directly but indicated that they had not been pressured to register cars in order to achieve first quarter bonuses.

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