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I have been trying to buy a vehicle through emailing dealerships. I want a 2010 Highlander, 4WD base model. I get the runaround saying that they don*t have one on their lot, but they can find me one if I put money down. I don*t know if I want to put money down on something I don*t see. The website inventories don*t seem to match what they say by phone. Is there a way that I can look up all the local inventory like the dealers do? Thank you,

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Gigi Ho, Vice President and Co-Founder at Digital Performance Inc. Hi Megan, if you have access to a credit union, or AAA, they can help you locate a model car you want in the price range you want. You may also want to address your question to the fleet services group at a dealership rather than the regular sales people -- who are just looking to move whatever they have available. Posts online, like in newspapers and specials, are usually for a very specific car/vehicle and is meant to draw in an interested party. If you know what you're looking for and what you'd like to pay for it, I would suggest you try these alternative channels first. Hope this helps and happy shopping!

Jenny Trostel, Partner at Anderson of Hunt Valley Most dealers do not order base models. Go to a dealership and test drive the vehicle that they have on their lot that is similar to the vehicle that you want. Toyota has stopped production on many vehicles because of the recall situation and the Highlander might be one of those vehicles. A Dealer will not special order a car without a deposit and they prefer to sell what is on their lot. You may be able to get a great deal on a 4WD model that they have in stock. Toyota has great incentives right now. Good Luck!

Patricia Algier , Owner at Valley Dealer Exchange Inc Dear Megan, There is no way to see inventory at other Dealers. You can call to each one or you can pay a broker to do that for you. Dealers can trade for merchandise if they feel you are a for sure client. They are not suppose to take deposits for cars not on the lot. All 2010 Highlanders are the same it is not like a used car where condition is a factor. If you really want that car then work with your local dealer and have them trade another dealer for the one you want. Patti

Shelly LoCascio, Dealer Principal  at Irwin Lincoln Mercury Mazda You are not going to get the same access as dealers because we pay dearly for that software. However most dealers do post their inventory through their websites. I don*t understand why it*s not matching up.

Jessie L Thatcher, F&I and Sales Specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds Company  (Retired) Megan, A lot of Toyota*s have been held up due to the recall and they may not have one in inventory. I would be very careful when giving them any money on a promise. If you know exactly what you want the best way is to find a good salesperson and have them do a Dealer Locate for your desired vehicle. If they can find what you want, you can give them a deposit so that they will trade for the car. When the car comes into the dealership go over it thoroughly before signing any further paperwork and know that you don*t have to take the vehicle if it is not what you want. If they are so scarce the dealership should be able to sell it easily if you don*t take it. Keep your deposit to a minimum and don*t let them talk you into signing any Financial Contracts until you have the chance to see and drive the vehicle. You might want to consider other alternatives to the Highlander and you might have better luck under the current Toyota situation. But get what you want and be sure you know what the costs are before you sign anything. You don*t have any responsibility to the vehicle until you sign the final contracts. Also be sure the deposit is refundable if you don*t take the car.

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