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Toyota Prius

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  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A reporter is hoping to interview anyone who has recently considered a Prius. He wonders what your shopping experience was like, what you paid if you bought one, what you cross-shopped, what you bought if you went for another vehicle, etc. Please respond to jfallon@edmunds.com by Tuesday, June 22, 2004 with your daytime contact info and anything you'd like to share.

    Thanks,
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A reporter is hoping to interview anyone who has recently considered a Prius. He wonders what your shopping experience was like, what you paid if you bought one, what you cross-shopped, what you bought if you went for another vehicle, etc. Please respond to jfallon@edmunds.com by Tuesday, June 22, 2004 with your daytime contact info and anything you'd like to share.

    Thanks,
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    My 67 year old father is in love with the Prius and wants to buy an 05 MY car. The problem is he will have to wait at least 6 months and the dealer is asking for a $800 deposit. The dealer says that is the only way he can get the Prius. I know the car is in extremely high demand but is it put worth putting down an $800 deposit?

    Will the maintenance cost of the Prius be greater than a similar gasoline powered car? Also I heard that only Toyota trained technicians are qualified to service the car, is that true
  • wco81wco81 Posts: 495
    Anyone read it? Unfortunately, it's a subscription site so I can't link to it and I presume the moderators wouldn't want it pasted here either.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    Offer them a $500 deposit and make sure it is refundable. If you don't leave a deposit, there is no way you'll assure yourself a spot on their waiting list.

    The previous generation Prius has proven to be quite reliable. Have a look at Consumer Reports for more information. Contrary to what you may have read, battery failures are virtually non existant. I have never read about one other than perhaps a faulty cell or two on a particular vehicle.
  • kornklankornklan Posts: 29
    I placed a $500.00 deposit on my Prius on Dec. 18th 2003. The dealer (in Connecticut) guaranteed the deposit was refundable. I'm going to wait for the car. I was #20 on the list. My dealer e-mailed me last week that I have moved up to #6. He has been getting about one to two cars a month. I should get mine around August or September. If your father feels that strongly about the car, the $800.00 deposit will guarantee he gets a car. Have him make sure that the deposit is refundable should he change his mind. He may have to wait a long time and will probably get a 2005.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,768
    If you put down a deposit, see if the dealer will just take your credit card number but not actually run the card. That way the deposit never shows up on your credit card account, so there's nothing to refund if you decide you don't want the car. This is what my dealer did, with a $500 "deposit". Even if the dealer will run the card, it might be better to use a card vs. cash/check because if the dealer renegs on the refund, you can protest to the credit card company.

    As for maintenance, I'm sure for maintenance on the hybrid components it's best to let Toyota-trained technicians handle it, but for routine maintenance like oil changes and such any competent mechanic should be able to do that. For maintenance costs, they should be low while the car is under warranty. And the warranty on hybrid components is 8 years/100k miles in your state (higher in some states like CA).
  • rdsymmesrdsymmes Posts: 5
    Actually, Oldboy, we did end up walking away from the deal, because when we saw the car, we realized it wasn't even a package 7. As for believing what the dealer paid for it, yes, we do, because we saw the paperwork, and we also know from multiple other reliable sources that these cars are fetching premium prices. That said, we couldn't justify our own cost, since it wasn't fully loaded (we had told him we would pay $27,500 for a fully loaded Prius). He was pissed at us, but too bad. (We had not committed to buying the thing, and he had said if we didn't want it, he'd sell it on e-Bay and get more for it than he was going to charge us.)

    Meanwhile, because we had to get another car, we compromised on an almost fully loaded RAV 4, which we got for the Edmunds TMV price, and put a $500 deposit on a Prius. Dealer is adding the moon roof at his cost (we included this cost in the TMV calculation). The car was an advertised loss-leader for the dealer, but it suited us, so it was a win/win.

    Meanwhile, we have a deposit on a hybrid Escape, and will look at them closely when they come out this year. Heard some talk about Toyota putting a hybrid in the RAV in two-three years, which also has us contemplating selling our new RAV to get a hybrid if/when they are produced (we're banking on our current RAV having reasonably high residual value). And of course, the wait for the Prius (the dealership told us 18-24 months, that there's a strong possibility we'll get a 2006 and not a 2005, and we'll get it for MSRP).
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    >Contrary to what you may have read,
    >battery failures are virtually non existant.
    >I have never read about one other than
    >perhaps a faulty cell or two on a particular
    >vehicle.

    They haven't been out long enough to determine if there are going to be battery failures. How many cars have been on the road 5 years? Maybe a few but with aobut 8 years or 10 years? The major failure, if they start occurring, will be in the future. That is why they are currently "virtually non existant" .

    The first generation Prius was available in Europe 1997. Does anyone have valid battery stats on those early models? Even a 1997 is just coming up on 7 years. Most of the Prius sold have been the new model 2004 which have less than a year of actual data.

    Come back in 2010 and I hope the answer is still "virtually non-existant". But we have no idea if that will be the answer or not. Typically Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries fail after time, heat/cold and charging cycles. Supposedly ,the Prius MG1 trickle charges the Prius all the time so that the batteries never get into deep discharge, unless you drive it hard whatever that means. But extreme cold (Minnesota winters) and extreme heat ( Phoenix summers) take their toll on any rechargeable battery Nickel-Metal Hydride or Lead.sulphuric.

    Newer Polymer Lithium Ion have more storage density, better recharge characteristics and might solve the problem for future cars, but it unlikely that there will be a battery upgrade for existing Priuses.

    YBLMV,

    MidCow
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    I will tell my dad to ask the dealer to either lower the deposit to $500 which seems more common than a $800 deposit or run the card without actually charging it. I have to admit I think the car looks really cool from both inside and outside but at the same time do you think that buying a Toyota Corolla makes more financial sense? That was what I suggested to him but his heart is set on the Prius.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,768
    If a compact sedan like the Corolla can meet your needs, it would be difficult to justify buying the Prius based only on financial considerations. You need to decide that based on your criteria, your driving habits, etc.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,041
    Purely on economics 12-14k vs 26-29k, Absolutely! Just ask the question at 2.19 per gal or whatever number you wish to use, how much unleaded fuel does 14,000-17,000 in savings buy? 6393-7763 gals? At 32/38 mpg vs 45-52 mpg. How far can you go @ 32-38 mpg, 204,576-294,994 miles?

    I am sure you see BE break even as almost ridiculously high?

    For the sake of argument you do 100,000 miles (easy to do multiples) plus 12-15k avg yearly mileage puts it at the avg age of the fleet of 8.3 years) fuel use @ 38 mpg=2632 gal vs fuel use@ 52 mpg? 1923 gals? Or a 709 gal savings @ 2.19= projected $1,553 dollars in fuel savings? Lets see, spend 14-17k MORE to SAVE $1553.00 in fuel savings?

    Kind of reminds me of that old joke: how to make a small fortune (in Prius gas/hybrids) : start with a large fortune!! :( :)
  • mebmanmebman Posts: 100
    Toyota is deliberately not producing enough of the 04 Prius. It is just wrong to have waiting lists of more than a year for anything. Prius is a great car no doubt, but when you go to the Toyota dealer and see lots full of BIG trucks and SUV's it really makes you wonder why they don’t use those production resources to make more of a car that we obviously cant get enough of. I'm tired of the Toyota dealers acting as if it is a privilege to purchase their cars. Honda is coming out with a wonderful new hatchback called the Fit. Although it's not a Hybrid the CVT and VTEC powertrain yields gas mileage in the 40's without hybrid technology to repair later on.
    Once gas prices subside the Prius will not be quite as difficult to get, but Toyota has lost one customer for not stepping up to the plate with enough Prius in our time of need.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    That's pretty impressive that 1997 cars still haven't had battery issues. Ten years from now there will be so many hybrids on the road that the cost of battery modules will be LESS than what it costs to replace a starter battery on a conventional car. The battery issue is a NON issue in my book. I have 140,000 miles before it even is a warranty issue. YIPEEEEE
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    Do your homework. It's the third party supplier of batteries which is the main holdup in production. Toyoyta had NO idea how popular their Prius would be. All different types of people are becoming hybrid converts. I even know someone that had a 2 year old TDI (diesel Golf) that he gave up for a Prius. His rationale that he wanted to make a statement about the environment. Foolish move, but everyone has their own agenda.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    You obviously haven't studied industry shortages.

    Just take a look at the computer industry for great examples of parallels to the automotive industry. They have recently endured the same problem recently, the best example of which is LCDs.

    LCDs are dramatically smaller and less expensive than a vehicle. How come there was a 3-year lag for supply to catch up with demand there? Why aren't you holding them to the same "deliberate" theory? After all, the computer industry is far better at dealing with change than the automotive industry. If they can't do it really quick, how can those for Prius.

    And remember, it isn't just Toyota. Toyota has to buy parts from suppliers, like the battery-pack modules from Panasonic.

    JOHN
  • mebmanmebman Posts: 100
    Toyota is deliberately not producing enough of the 04 Prius. It is just wrong to have waiting lists of more than a year for anything. Prius is a great car no doubt, but when you go to the Toyota dealer and see lots full of BIG trucks and SUV's it really makes you wonder why they don’t use those production resources to make more of a car that we obviously cant get enough of. I'm tired of the Toyota dealers acting as if it is a privilege to purchase their cars. I spoke with the Toyota customer service and their best spin is “we have increased production by 31%’. 31% of a little is still a little! Dealers are still saying up to a TWO YEAR wait!
    I have never heard of such a wait for any car, or for that matter any commercially produced product of any kind, except maybe a high-rise office building. Toyota could build a whole new factory in that time!
    Honda is coming out with a wonderful new hatchback called the Fit. Although it's not a Hybrid the CVT and VTEC powertrain yields gas mileage in the 40's without hybrid technology to repair later on. I am now a Honda customer.
    Once gas prices subside the Prius will not be quite as difficult to get, but Toyota has lost one customer for not stepping up to the plate with enough Prius in our time of need.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    By the way...

    Did you ever consider that the delay for the Toyota/Lexus hybrid SUV releases could actually caused by Prius shortages?

    Since the same battery-pack module (except more of them) is used for those SUVs, wouldn't it make sense to devote that supply to Prius instead?

    JOHN
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    >Toyota is deliberately not producing enough of the 04 Prius.

    You are absolutely right. And belivie me if the the Prius were as profitable as the Corolla and Camrys they replace they would make more in a heart-beat.

    > ..Toyota has lost one customer
    However, make that at least two customers and counting probably 1,000s that they have lost
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,041
    Anyone contemplating selling your Jetta, Beetle, Golf, TDI for a Prius, please let me know!!! :)
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Try reading my "industry" message, you obviously didn't.

    LCDs are highly profitable, yet it still took them 3 years to be able to make supply meet demand. Explain that!

    JOHN
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,768
    Well, Toyota IS adding production for the Prius, and is considering opening a line in the U.S. So the two-year wait may shrink pretty fast--especially when more hybrid choices become available this fall.

    As for the Fit--you can't buy one of those in the U.S. today at any price. So your choice today is wait for a Prius, wait for a Fit, or buy something else, e.g. a Matrix 5-speed has the room and utility of the Prius and will approach 40 mpg highway. And it costs a lot less than a Prius.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,041
    I would also agree! I think the other realities to consider is the Toyota folks decided that a so called "successful launch" was all important! Of course you can only reverse engineer the process to take a guess at what successful WAS. I read in a few places that the 2004 production is 22,000. So at 22k units, the Prius is an unqualified hit. The next question is at what production levels are the next goals!!??

    To have to move even ONE Prius product at less than MSRP was probably the so called "kiss of death" To have ANY product availability other than a massive waiting list and some of the execs were probably expected by pass the kiss, to commit sepuku :( :)
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Djasonw,

    Actually I don't know if the 1997s have had any battery issues or not. I don't have infroamtion on Priuses; I doubt if a consolidated compendium even exists. Those vocal for the Prius only like to report positive facts. And I don't know how many Prius owners particpate in Edmunds forums. All I was saying is that even the 1997 is only 7 years old, so there are any failures yet after 8 years.

    I am glad you like your car. Tell me the 3 things you like the best. Tell me 3 things you like the least. What would you change? If you had it to do over again would you make the same decision?

    I hope you and other Prius and other hybrid owners don't have any major battery problems.

    YMMV,

    MidCow

    So you think I need a 5-speed TDI I will consider it!
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,041
    This may truly be an apples to oranges comparison but I have had OEM Toyota batteries (but made by Panasonic) have each lasted (5 batteries) 10 years. Since the average battery is projected to last 4 years, I consider this pretty good!? Or have other folks who have had Toyota Landcrusiers have the same experiences as I?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,768
    Since you have decided NOT to buy a Prius, what is it about this board (that is only about the Prius) that intrigues you so much?

    BTW, do you think the Sienna is a profitable vehicle for Toyota? Let's assume it is. Then how can you explain the massive shortages of '04 Siennas? Since they are so profitable, Toyota should have made more in a heart-beat, right? Instead, they forced customers to wait and to pay MSRP or close to MSRP prices for Siennas. Was this an insiduous plot by Toyota--or maybe just a case of production not keeping up with demand because the new Sienna was a much more desirable vehicle than the previous-gen Sienna?
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    Okay Midcow.. here goes.. first.. let's address your desires. A TDI 5 speed would be nice but it's not fast enough for your taste (almost on par with a Prius). If you can deal with that, then you're set. If you feel like waiting four years or so, see what the next gen Prius is like.

    Three features I like best: Smart Entry/Start, NAV, Stealth Mode...

    What I'd change:

    Better OEM tires (I changed mine)
    Provide EV Swich in the US- Nice to have when you just want to move the car a few feet and don't want to engage the ICE.
    One touch up/down on all four windows instead of just the driver's window.

    If I had to do it all over again, I'd buy it in a hearbeat. Absolutely NO regrets. I can sell mine today for $25k!!!
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    at the same time, your screen is temporarily locked and sometimes you miss what another person is posting.

    There is not an enqueue/dequeue locking feature to ensure you are always looking at the most current set of posts.

    Thee is a latent demand for Prius, If they were readily available I would stongly consider buying one in spite of it not being standard shift. I could probably get use to the CVT and I could probably get use to the power, although I would probably only be a 40 mpg person.

    What bothers me most about the Prius, is the hauty attitude of the sales people and their absolute lack of knowledge or incorrect knowledge about the Prius and hybrids.

    If batteries are in short supply, then that explains some of the production backlog. It seems other battery manufacturers would be clamoring to get Panasonics business.

    Have a great day!

    YMMV,

    MidCow
  • kalmikeykalmikey Posts: 17
    I understand the forces that can create slowdowns and shortfalls.

    I don't understand how Toyota can legally claim to sell a product they can't deliver on for, in some cases, two years.

    Yes, two years. That's what Twin Cities, MN dealers are currently claiming.

    That's insane.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,084
    If the holdup is battery related what happens to the poor guy that has a bad cell? Do all the dealers keep spare cells? What is the shelf life of a NiMH battery without being charged, not good I'll bet?
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