A 1998 Toyota Tacoma Is Selling for Over $17,000

Used cars are experiencing unprecedented price hikes due to a global semiconductor chip shortage. There are even cases where used cars are currently more expensive than brand new cars. The current state of the automotive industry has caused some consumers to seek out vehicles manufactured during a simpler time. After all, when it comes to certain models, they just don’t make ’em like they used to anymore. A 1998 Toyota Tacoma’s ridiculous $17,000 sale price is proof that consumers are longing to get back to the basics.

1998 Toyota Tacoma sold for $17k after intense bidding war

A red Toyota Tacoma.
The 1998 Toyota Tacoma | Via Autoblog YouTube channel

The Toyota Tacoma has built the reputation of being an affordable pickup truck with great off-roading capabilities. As the global pandemic and semiconductor chip shortage have worsened, a demand for older vehicles with off-roading potential like the ‘Taco’ has surged. Thousands of consumers are looking for a reliable SUV or truck that they can enjoy on trails.

According to Motor1, one 1998 Toyota Tacoma was in especially high demand at an auction. The 1998 Toyota Tacoma XtraCab had just 64,000 miles on it and used a manual transmission. Hundreds were in attendance at a Carmax dealer auction as the bidding price rapidly rose.

The opening bid for the 23 year-old truck was $6,000. The Toyota Tacoma ended up selling for $17,000. A brand new 2021 base model Toyota Tacoma starts at $26,400. The dealer that won the auction will likely sell the Taco for a price of over $20,000 to turn a profit after necessary expenses.

This may seem like a bad buy or an overbid to many, but the 23 year-old Taco will get scooped up. Toyota models built in the 90s are famous for their reliability and longevity. A truck this old with mileage under 65k miles is miraculous. This deal was a no-brainer for the dealer that won the auction. Transactions like this are becoming extremely common.

The used car price hike phenomenon

A picture of a used car lot similar to a buy here pay here with numerous cars of various colors in front of a small white building with a blue overhang that says "used cars" with a sticker in a blacked out window that says "We're Dealing."
Used Car Lot | Getty Images

So why are used vehicles selling for prices near or above new vehicle prices? It’s no different than how your high school economics teacher broke down supply and demand. The global semiconductor shortage has strained vehicle supply. As a result, demand for vehicles has increased, and the limited supply is more valuable for the time being.

It is a horrible time to buy a new vehicle an even worse time to buy a used vehicle. Consumers will still go into a buying frenzy and support this price gouging because the heart wants what the heart wants. And in this case, the heart wants Tacos. Toyota Tacomas and similar trucks and SUVs are being converted into overland and off-road builds as Americans struggle to keep happy and healthy during the pandemic.

A niche market for these types of trail-ready vehicles has been created. People have devoted themselves to the off-roading camper lifestyle in older pickup trucks and SUVs because they are cost-effective. YouTubers like Harrison Schoen have tapped into an entire subculture of folks using these vehicles to search for adventure during the global pandemic.

The Toyota Tacoma is still fun 26 years later

A white Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.
The Toyota Tacoma | Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Toyota Tacoma came to the U.S. market in 1995. 26 years later, the Taco is still just as fun and relevant. In fact, the Tacoma has gotten even better with trim options like the TRD Off-Road trim. The Taco has built a cult following and Toyota has embraced its unique off-roading capabilities.

Toyota Tacomas don’t provide the smoothest rides. They aren’t the fastest trucks either. Tacos are all about adventure. What they lack in comfort they make up for in awesome trail-tacklin’ capability. As the global semiconductor chip shortage impacts more automakers, fun and reliable oldies like first-generation Tacos will continue to sell like hotcakes.

RELATED: 2021 Toyota Tacoma: Is the TRD Off-Road Worth $5,000 Over the Base SR?