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2004-2009 Toyota Prius Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • I agree about the color white and this indeed is what we bought. And if you do intend to drive the thing till it falls apart, depreciation is a non-issue. As far as gas prices dropping, fugeddaboutit if trade sanctions interrupt oil exports from Iran which is, would you believe, one of the primary exporters of crude in the world. If that scenario turns into a reality, crude will spike easily to $100+ and we'll be seeing gas selling for $4.25 per gallon
    when you can get it. I sure hope not.

    Regarding the teenage son, I can't think of a better car for him to begin his driving career since it will move him away from "How fast from 0 to 6t0" towards, "How far can I go on a quart of gas". You can tell the young Turk, "You come back showing less than 45MPG, you've just turned into a pedestrian!"
  • Pathstar - your point it taken.

    Although I'm certainly no tax expert, I do file my own return so I have some superficial familiarity with the tax code. 2005 and 2006 are very different years with respect to the tax relief afforded Prius purchasers. For 2005, there was a $2,000 tax deduction which did amount to an out of pocket savings of $500 for taxpayers in the 25% bracket. Those in a higher bracket got still more. In 2006, this was changed to a $3,150 tax credit which unlike a deduction is a dollar for dollar credit against your tax liability so the savings are much more powerful regardless of your tax bracket. But, as you indicate, there are a couple of caveats:

    1. There is no tax refund, per se, provided. For you to get the $3150 tax credit, you must owe at least $3150 in taxes.
    If you only owe $2500 in taxes, that is the cap on Prius credit. They don't give you any way of carrying over the unused portion of the credit ($650) into a subsequent tax year or carrying it back into a previous tax year.

    2. Since the refund comes back to you, you must also be the one who actually purchases the car. For example, if you want to give your teen age daughter a Prius, to get the credit, you have to buy the car. If you provide her the funds to buy the car, and she buys it, she, not you, will qualify, (or non-qualify) for the tax credit. So when you effect a transaction like this, you want to be sure that regardless of how the vehicle is registered, that the purchase order indicates that you are buying the car. There are some creative ways of dealing with this (joint ownership etc) and a tax advisor would be helpful in steering you in the right direction.

    3. If you are ensnared by the Alternative Minimum Tax for CY2006, this can indeed affect the value of the credit and you would do well to discuss this with a tax guru to determine if you can shape your CY2006 return to maximize the credit recovery.

    BTW, the most important tax "credit" you get driving one of these cars is the diminished Federal and State taxes you pay on the gas you consume. Depending on the vehicle the Prius replaced, the tax revenue being squeezed out of you drops anywhere from 35 - 80% ! In the micro, you are making out like a mink, but in the macro, it turns into a zero sum game because if EVERYBODY's tax bit dropped that much it would wreck havoc with the Federal revenue intake and you know darn well that the gummint would figure out some other inventive way of squeezing it back out of you. This bizarre consequence plays itself out in other venues also. For example, it's eloquently argued that if we eliminated alcohol and tobacco as staples for consumption, the decrease in the cost of the social mayhem and terrible diseases caused by these products would be enormous. But the flip side is that the government collects billions upon billions dollars in tax revenue on these products and one way or the other, we will all end up paying for the shortfall if these highly taxed products were no longer sold. It's all so weird, I'm gonna have to go for a quiet drive in my Prius, just to calm down..........
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Further to your "tax rant" ;) if we eliminated alcohol and tobacco a lot more people would be living well into retirement years - yet another drain on the tax dollar (at least here in Canada, not sure what your pension situation is federally).

    I went for another test drive today, this time in a 2005 "B" package Prius with 22,000 km+ on it. Took a good long test drive this time, as the car already had lots of km on it so I didn't feel guilty or obligated. Had fun watching all the things posted here and in PriusChat and Priusonline. "B" package, for those Americans too lazy to check, ;) is everything but nav. We appearantly don't get leather here in Canada. The car was way too expensive in my mind - they wanted $30,000 Can. New a package "B" car is $36,000 or so. So it now looks like I will end up with a 2007. Most of the dealers here are running out of 2006 units. Only saw three base models in the two dealers I visited today.

    I've now saved up enough money to buy, once I sell my RX-7. I'm getting anxious! ;)
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 129
    I now wonder, are we Toyota's customers? Or are the dealers Toyota's customers?

    This happend to me this weekend. On Friday night, I was called by Puente Hills Toyota (35 miles from where I am) that they just received 3 #3's, I can get one at MSRP. I showed up 10 sharp, now the car has "wood" dash, and $2K more. I told the sales person, if I can peel it off, then they should peel the $2K off, if I can't, I gladly pay the $2K extra. She stopped me, and said, why don't you make an offer and see what "management" thinks. We set down, she wanted me to put personal info (name, address, jobs, etc) on a credit application. I said, look, why you need all these info just to see if managers take my MSRP offer. Even DMV does not require these info. She kept telling me it is their standard procedure, and how it helps them help customers. And I told her, I am paying the money, so they should respect my wishes. This went for 10 minutes. I kept asking her, why can't I just talk to a sales manager and see if he wants to take it or not. Finally, a guy came by, greeted himself, then said, "NO, we put this wood dash in, and we are going to get something for it. And if you are on wait list at other dealerships in SoCal, good luck because they too are going to take your car and loaded it up accessories to sell to retail customers." For sure I will never buy, or tell anyone to try Puente Hills. And I have no respect for anyone who bad-mouth their peers/competitors.

    I suspect many Toyota dealers are all doing this, bypassing their waitlist customers so they can load up $2-5K of junk on retail customers. This is why I am wondering, who does Toyota really care about, us the endusers, or the dealers?

    I made a call to a leasing company and they can get me a black/blue Prius at $100 discount, and perhaps a white one in 2 weeks.

    I think I am going to wait until a middle of the week to check again to see if prices get lower. Then if not, buy from the leasing company.

    It amazes me how dealers are treating customers and potential customers. But since they are still doing it, it must still be working. So it saddens me, how in the age of Internet and books, people still do not arm themselves with information and strategies on such big $$$ purchase. $ 2K save is $50/month on car payments!!!!

    Why must dealers make potential customers make "offers" first? Shouldn't they be the one working their numbers down, until customers are satisfied? Instead, I feel like I am throwing numbers, and they are the ones deciding if they are satisfied?

    And why do dealers want my personal info just to make an offer? Are they hoping to drag the process so long that I make stupid decisions?

    I really like Toyota's but sure hate the buying experience. Must admit the only ones that did it right was Saturn (10 years ago now). But GM seems to have screwed that up too.
  • I think that not only is leather horrendously overpriced, it is poor choice for seat covers. But some folks will not have anything else.

    Is Canada offering any incentive on the Prius similar to the U.S. tax credit etc.?
  • The phony decal wood dash is a new one on me. The credit application routine is just a shuck and jive act, particularly if you are paying cash or financing the vehicle elsewhere. You should refuse it because too many inquiries of this sort starts to ding your FICA score.

    Will the leasing company sell you a Prius or will you have to lease it from them?

    Anybody in these times who gets abused by an automobile dealer flat out deserves. Considering how much attention the media has paid to dubious car selling techniques and the wealth of information available on forums like this one, I can't muster much sympathy for someone bleeding buyer remorse all over the place. This is not rocket science and good information is widely available. As I mentioned before, it comes down to the three kinds of people that inhabit this planet: the ones that make it happen; the ones that watch it happen and the ones that belatedly moan "What happened?" The "What happened" group ends up being speared like fish in a barrel. It's a commercial illustration of the survival of the fittest.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I don't think the Canadian Federal govt. offers anything. I hear the BC and Ont. provicial govts. offer something. I'm in Alberta, so the car must stand on its' own price.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 129
    Cruising, the leasing companies (I checked with 2) will both sell or lease, whichever I prefer. This is how they work: they check with local dealer inventories, buy the car I want (at fleet price), then resell/lease to me with some markup. I will go with purchase for tax credit. Anyhow, my cousin just leased to buy a Range Rover Sport SuperCharge (3 year lease with option for 2nd 3 year which buys the car outright) from one of the leasing companies, because it was $3K cheaper than any SoCal Land Rover dealers. He said it was such a pleasure, because he just told them what he wanted, his price, arrange the finances, then the car was flatbed to his home. He just had to sign and pay the down and 1st month payment. All done. No more 2+ hours at dealership haggling over prices, then get worked over by "Biz" managers. This is why I am thinking of going this route, I just don't want to see more salesman/biz managers.

    Interestingly this leasing company (in SoCal) is taking orders for 2007 Prius. The touring package does look tempting, but probably won't arrive before Sept.

    My fear with filling out credit application is ID theft. But you made a great point about affecting my credit score.
  • Yes, I would imagine that a leasing company has an inside track in securing automobiles since he company has the potential for providing a lot of repeat business for the auto dealership.

    Be sure that purchasing the car from a leasing agency, as opposed to an OEM dealer doesn't adversely affect the qualification for a tax credit. I wouldn't accept the leasor's representation regarding this since they might very well not know or care, or both. A Google search with "Prius Tax Credit" brings back a wealth of information and sources for determining this. And, of course, remember that if you get nailed with the AMT for CY2006, your tax credit is butchered. It's a jungle out there!
  • Cruising7388,

    Thanks for the compliment! :blush:
    Thanks also for the info about being able to wait until just before the 3 year warranty being up to purchase the extended warranty.

    I'm not sure which warranty package, but I believe it was an additional 3 years. so, I guess it is the first one.
    3/50,000 I know it gave me 6 years of coverage for all but normal wear and tear stuff like brakes, window wipers etc. I'll have to dig up my paperwork.

    I did get a call back from my sales person indicating that there were a couple of people "ahead of me". Makes me wonder. If all the 2006 are already produced, how can there be a waiting list for color and package? Do you have any ideas on that?

  • If the choice was mine, I would wait until the 3/36000 warranty was ready to run out before I made a decision regarding an extended warranty. Remember, that the extended warranty piggybacks the basic warranty, so for example, a 7 year "extended" warranty is for all practical purposes a four warranty because the first three years are covered already by the basic warranty. Particularly since you haven't yet taken title to the car, you can cancel the extended warranty at any time before the date of purchase.
    Once the warranty goes into effect, you have a 30 day window in which to cancel the warranty for a full refund. After that, any refund is on a pro rata basis.

    With respect to the waiting list, even though Toyota is already building 2007 models at the factory, they still
    keep a supply of 2006 vehicles that they meter into the distribution channel to minimize the dry period when you can no longer get this years model but it's still to early to get next years model. No manufacturer likes this window to be of significant duration because it invites a prospective customer to consider another brand. Thr reason that the waiting list situation is a little murky is that the dealers don't necessarily know what cars they will be getting until fairly shortly before delivery. Sometimes, they will get cars in without any notice whatsoever. There is also another factor that is transparent to the customer -dealer to dealer accomodation. While on one level, dealers are in vigorous competition with each other, on another level, dealers often help each other out by exchanging inventory to help another dealer complete a sale. The factory encourages but doesn't require this level of cooperation. So the car you get may have originally be assigned to another dealer.

    But not to worry. You'll probably get exactly or close to what you want. Get ready for a whole new life style, cause the only thing foxier than a library chick is a library chick driving a Prius!
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 129
    While waiting for my Prius it seems most remaining 2006 streaming into dealers are metallic gray. They kept telling me it's the most popular color, but I hardly see them in SoCal. And when I got my Previa 13 years ago just about every one is a dark red. And that dark red is such a bad color (for fade, scorch, nicks), it's giving me chills about any Toyota red's. So I wonder, did Toyota get a fire-sale discount on gray paint? And will this gray go the distance (15 years looking new)?
  • Grey isn't a widely popular in Northern California either. I think the least popular color is black. I think current paint technology has gone a long way to overcoming the fade problems of red.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 129
    Crusing, thanks for your opinion. Toyota red really has no place to go but up. I did find 2 white Prius #3 (due 9/15) but dealer wants $3K+. So grey is looking better. Or perhaps I will learn to like the ocean blue too.

    So what are the popular colors in NoCal?
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 129
    I went to Frontier Toyota (north of LA) and found a White #3 at MSRP, coming in mid Sept, with VIN. It turned out they do sell more Prius then anyone in nation because they handle the LA county/city account, which gets few hundred Prius for meter maids/DOT workers/etc.. So they got 14 allocated today, and I was the 10th. I think they have a few more #3, 7 and 8 at MSRP. Anyhow, glad the wait is almost over.
  • Just be sure your paperwork shows that you purchased the vehicle prior to October 1 to protect the full tax credit.
    Also, get the HOV application on file ASAP.
  • Actually, there's nothing wrong with Earl Scheib paint, per se. The secret to a long lasting paint job depends more on the surface preparation for the paint than the paint itself. Consequently the quality of the paint work from aftermarket painters varies widely depending upon the skill and integrity of the particular shop. If the surface isn't completely stripped of wax or silicone polish and lightly sanded for adhesion, the best paint on earth will fail.

    As a culture, we're all really a bunch of idiots. Every culture has its essential mediums for expressing personal color preferences but using the automobile as a venue for expressing it, is just bizarre. We (or the OEM) spend thousands of dollars for painting a car to make it look pretty on the outside, KNOWING that it will be doomed by rain, snow, smog, road salt, sun, rust, bird droppings, fender benders and vandals. Then we proceed to climb inside the car where we can't see the paint. All we can see inside is the car interior, which is dull beige, duller grey or deathly black. The only color we get to see are the paint colors OTHER people have chosen for their cars. Surely there has to be a more benign environment for expressing our color choices than having it defaced by the concerted cruel assaults of nature and man. If we had a scintilla of common sense, we would demand every car be totally galvanized, including the brake pedals! So why do we do this? There can only be one reason: Somewhere deeply recessed in our DNA there is the vestigial element of the birds from which we evolved. Our cars represent our awkward attempt to fly, the horn dimly replicates the chirp and the colors we bathe them in represent our pitiful efforts to regain some plumage. It's time we faced up to the fact that wasting money painting a car is ....just for the birds.

    Popular colors for Northern Cal? The dominant colors in no particular order seem to be blue, green and gold with white, silver and red trailing behind and black at the bottom of the list. I think that in the warmer climate areas of the country that the incidence of white would be substantially higher.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    So you think the Delorian ugly gray stainless finish is cool? ;)

    Oh, and you can see the hood (and the sides in the mirrors, unless you don't use those ;) ).
  • No, I wasn't turned on by his stainless surface aesthetically. It leaves smudges and fingerprints. But I was turned on by the thought that I would never have to worry about fading, scratches, corrosion or some spittle drooling moron keying the side of the car because he couldn't afford one.

    Well, OK, I'm willing to compromise. Paint the hood and the sides but galvanize all the rest. Actually, I think the bodywork of cars in the future will pretty much be a recyclable composite material. And now that you've got me started, no car should have a body panel more than 12" x 12". On half the cars made today, if you have to replace a front fender, the first part of the procedure is: "Remove rear tail light......." And that's only half of it - the tail light you remove to start the repair is on the opposite side of the damage.
  • I was just told by a Toyota salesman that he could obtain the VIN for a 2007 Prius and begin the sales paperwork by Sept 20th which he said is all we need to qualify for the max tax credit. First of all, I have read that you have to take physical possession of the car, not just have one on order. Second, I have not seen anything that tells me that a 2007 Prius is going to qualify for the credit. Does anyone have any verifiable last minute information that might confirm or refute what I am being told? The site does not list the 2007 Prius as eligible for the tax break.

    Not being born yesterday, I have learned that a car salesman is capable of saying anything to sell a car. I am confident that if what he said turned out not to be true, when tax time came around he would not remember making any such statements.
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