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Toyota Prius (First Generation)



  • In response to "flemide" and "freewayguy1", I understand your frustration and confusion about the mixed messages these "so called" sales people are giving you. All I can say, is that the people who matter....those making the not share the sentiments of your dealer. I waited 5 months before I received my Prius. The wait was long and frustrating, but the moment I saw the car and then drove in it, I knew the wait was worth the bother. If I were you, I would go to the Toyota website and then click on the "Prius" icon. You can access a "live" person who will help answer your questions. It is also a place where you can aire your concerns about ordering your car from a misinformed and unconcerned dealership. They can at least direct you to the regional manager who might be more effective in making sure your order goes smoothly. I think the frustration, as far as the dealership is concerned, stems from a general lack of communication between the manufacturers of this car and the dealership; complicated by the fact that those who put money down, WANT THE CAR NOW! It is a long wait. Toyota is dealing with the delays as best they can. At one point they only had one plant producing this car. Now, I believe two plants are opened. The demand for this car has surpassed all expectations and quite frankly Toyota is overwhelmed, as they move into the next phase for this car. Hybrid systems are catching on, and Toyota is learning that being in the forefront of this "green race" is full of turns and tactical decisions. Us "Pioneers" of this new technology are the ones who pay the price, so to speak, as we wait patiently (or not) for this vehicle. I will reiterate, that the wait is worth the frustration. While the 2001's are impressive, the next generation of cars promises to be even more impressive. If no one has said so to you, thank you for helping make our planet a little greener. Your decision to buy a Prius today will have lasting effects.
  • It has a fixed price enforced by toyota and whoever jacks up the price will be penalized (IMHO).
  • Happy New Year!!! One week left till the GOHEV (Gathering of Hybrid Electric Vehicles) in Los Angeles (Sunday, Jan. 7th at noon), at Griffith Park. So far we have about 17 Priuses and 14 Insights, plus 2 GM EV1s registered to join us. The location will be at Crystal Springs picnic area on the east side of the park. There are BBQ grills in the park and lots of tables for picnics. will be there with give-a-ways.
    Temps should be in the mid 70s. Get there early so we can line up all the vehicles for pictures. We will post them later for everyone to see.

    If you wish to get on the list, please email:
    Mention your vehicle, (or one you're interested in)
    Where you're driving from.
    How many in your party.
    See you there.
  • For those of you who live in cold, wintery climates I feel inclined to report to you how my Prius is handeling itself. On Saturday, an old fashioned Nor'Easter blew through New England. Yipee! In Connecticut, the state where I reside, received between 8-17" of snow. During the height of this storm, I had the good fortune of having to travel to work. I must tell you that my Prius handeled itself like a pro. Not once did I slip or slide. Not once was I concerned about the performance of this car. The car worked hard to grip the road and heat the cabin. On average I got 37.1 mpg. This, I thought, was good considering the extreme cold. When the car's engine was warmed enough, it even went to all "electric" while at stop signs or going downhill. I was amazed! Another unexpected surpise was the fact that very little snow accumulated on the car's nose due to its curve and very little snow accumulated between the tires and body, which resulted in trouble-free turning. This is probably due to the low side panels. Overall, this car did extremely well in these wintery conditions in spite of the bad press some people are suggesting about its winter time performance. For my Prius, I give it two thumbs up (make that three) :). That's it for now...until our next storm...KEEP IT GREEN!
  • My sense that my dealer resented selling me this vehicle have manifested. Although I gave him plenty of time to get my order in within the two week framework he has not done so. I placed a hoswitgoin' call a few days ago as I was alarmed not to get an order confirmation and got the story that he had to place the order from his home couputer because the dealer isn't online (!) and Toyota's computer has been down so he cant place my order. He was so vague in the telling that I got a strong sense I was being lied to. Anyone heard any reports that Toyota's order receipt system is down? I cant believe what an burden this dealer is to this purchase but he holds the keys to the kingdom as he is the only one in my little town in N. Calif. Can anyone guide me in how to advocate for myself in this. My remonstrations to the dealer were met with a glazed donut look. My two weeks is now up and i am back to square one, even further back on the waiting list which i cant even seem to stay on...aaargh.
  • katomkatom Posts: 1
    I am considering leasing a new Prius. What are the dealerships quoting for leases? How are the residuals projected?
  • January 7th is almost here. Click on the link for information on the largest hybrid gathering ever.

    GOHEV Link:
  • My wife & I are thinking of buying a new, economical car. Our Grand Caravan ES is nice, but not that good on gas driving around town (15-16MPG). My 1990 ford festiva is making some strange engine noises and I think it may be on it's death bed. It has 140,000 miles and is starting to smoke = time to start shopping. We went to a toyota dealer yesterday. I was looking at the Prius & asking a few simple questions. The salesman informed me he had been to a training class on the Prius & knew all about it. But then he told me Toyota is dropping the car!!! He said they have sold so few here in the states that they are giving up on the car. He says they are losing too much money on the project. Has anyone else heard this? He said the information came right from Toyota. That certainly makes me think twice(or 3 times) that I should not even consider the Toyota Prius. I left the dealership scratching my head. My wife may get her new Ford Focus after all! lol Thanks for any info that someone "in the know" may post in response to this. Toyota is welcome to email me direct if they have anything to say in defense of the Prius project! C'mon toyota, tell me it ain't so ... thanks, LM
  • I, too, had a very weird experience at a Toyota dealership where the salesman was not only not knowledgeable about the Prius (lied to me to fill in the gaps, even) but also was very nonchalant about ordering the car. When I called to check on the order a few days later, the dealership told me the salesman no longer worked there and they knew nothing about my order. Mind you, they did have my $500. I went back to the dealership, where to my surprise, the original salesman WAS still there, and asked for my deposit back. Further to my surprise, they gave me my deposit back as if I had simply asked for a cup of coffee. What I hear is that the dealerships aren't making much money on this car and since they have to be ordered, they are not moving cars off the lot like they prefer to do. Also, apparently Toyota is taking a loss on the car. I went to another dealership and ordered the car there. The sales rep was much more on top of things and has called me to confirm my order was sent to Toyota. With the holidays I have been waiting to contact them again since I haven't heard from Toyota directly at all. My point is, if you have the option, try another dealership. Yes, I lost about two weeks on "getting in line", but I feel a lot better about working with someone who seems to be looking out for my purchase and is more enthusiastic about selling the car. Now I just have the long wait...

    And, mrgreenjeans - believe it or not, I have found STP Son of a Gun Cleaner to do a fantastic job on glass. Just make sure to rub all of it off with a clean paper towel or rag. It does a better job of getting off the bug stains than the old vinegar and newspaper trick, too. I wish I had a new Prius in my possession to help out on the mileage questions...
  • Follow-up to #151. Thursday, I called my Toyota dealer again to ask about the status of my Prius order.

    A dealership manager said that a Prius ordered 45 days ahead of mine (in October 2000) had arrived in Portland, Oregon. Toyota will install the CD player and floor mats at the port. He was reluctant to talk about any other add-ons because he said it would slow delivery of the vehicle. The Prius will be placed on a train for shipment to Ohio, which will take 8 days. He was less definite about my order, but gave me a time frame 1 1/2 to 2 months sooner than the original arrival date given to me. He said that Toyota is now delaying delivery of Trac cars to dealers to give priority to customer orders. He implied that Prius sales are so strong that demos are no longer necessary to get orders and that they are trying to speed up customer deliveries.

    In response to posting #459, my Toyota contact did say that they are losing $15,000 to $20,000 on each Pruis they sell. He indicated that future HEV models from Toyota would be priced at a point where they could cover the cost of production. I suspect at some point Toyota will raise the price of the Prius to cover their costs. The 2002 Prius will come out in September 2001, perhaps that will be the point in time that they pick.

    If you are shopping for a new car, you may want to read the review of the Prius in the December 2000 issue of Consumer Reports. They gave it an excellent rating for a new car without a reliability record or crash test data.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Absolutely not. In fact, the reason delivery is taking so long is because of unexpectedly high demand. Many dealers don't like the allocation method because it goes against our normal instant gratification lust but there are some of us who can wait.

    Toyota even has plans in the works for a hybrid SUV. Look for a Corolla based SUV with this system in 2003.

    I also want to apologize for my long absence from this topic. When the software changed at Edmunds, I found all my other topics and marked them. I thought I had done this with the Prius topic but it seems I missed it. I'll be keeping up better in the future.
  • I am the fleet manager at a dealership in Southern California. Am pretty vocal here in a few other forums like Sequoia, Highlander, Landcruiser, Solara convertible etc.

    I was aghast to read about people's experiences with their local dealers, especially in California. I have taken 4 orders recently from pretty far north of me due to the fact that northern dealers are either not interested OR pricing the cars well above the MSRP. This, I cannot fathom. There are no allocations of Prius - it's a built-to-order car that is ordered specifically for one person. Meaning, were I to order 10 for 10 buyers, I'd get 10. Were I to order 50 for 50 buyers, I'd get 50. It's that simple. I can only assume that dealers do not want to do Prius orders due to high turnover with salespeople. I mean, what salesman wants to take the time to "sell" a car that he cannot deliver for 4-5 months? Few. Personally, I have been with Toyota for 20 years. I am not going anywhere, and I pride myself on the hundreds of happy buyers I have annually. But, that isn't always the case in small hick-towns and even large turnover-stores.

    Anyone even remotely close to SoCal can count on me for an MSRP deal, and a deal with a smile and patiently asked questions. And, I even offer a special "hotshot" discount on all Prius models sold that you can email me for details on.

    I am sorry to read a few of these letters of frustration here concerning what should be a terrific and happy purchase. It's true that Toyota Motors loses about $8000 a car, per car, based on the cost per car to produce. But, that isn't affecting dealers, so that isn't a reason for poor treatment. Salesmen/salespeople and dealerships treat people as they wish. It's up to you, as the consumer, to do the Dionne Warwick thing (o/~ walk on by) and find someone who will care about you.

  • Here is a link to the GOHEV gathering we had in Griffith Park Sunday Jan. 7th.
    It was good fun!
  • I want to contact the Toyota advertising dept. to see if they are willing to pay me to advertise the 2002 Prius (similar to the OR program) by placing an adhesive exterior advertisement on the vehicle. Anyone know how to contact Toyota adversting dept? Their website didn't help me at all. Thanks.
  • I just received notice that my prius is (finally, yeah!) on its way and will be here in 2-4 weeks. This is my first car, so I don't have insurance yet, and I'm having a hard time finding a company that will cover the Prius. Do you have any suggestions for me? I'm a student in Illinois.
  • Please answer the following easy survey and e-mail your responses to me at;
    How do you like the Prius; any comments??
    Was your purchase for private use, corporate or government??
    Was it a purchase or lease??
    Were you able to take advantage of any "grant" program or subsidy because its an SULEV or hybrid vehicle??
    Do you have any concerns about its safety??
    Are you concerned about the high-voltage system in the car??
    Are you concerned about the potential danger of the high-voltage system should you be involved in a serious accident (including roll-over)??
    Any other comments??
    Thank you for your responses.
    Robert Fuller
  • dsgechodsgecho Posts: 89
    I have a chance to get a TRAC Prius from a dealer w/1300 miles that is $20,855 MSRP. What does everyone think about a fair price of $20,100 for the vehicle? Thanks for the help!
  • well....its up to you.....however, it may be the cost of availability
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I honestly don't know what fair market value would be on a TRAC car. We just picked up a used one at wholesale auction for $20300. We already have a customer on it for $22000. They are willing to pay more since they can get it right away.
  • paul34bpaul34b Posts: 33
    I to ordered my Prius at the end of August. Gave them my credit card for the $500 deposit. Then I never heard from them. In October I get a letter from Toyota with the Prius driving manual then in Nov I get another gift from Toyota (small calculator). Still never hearing from my dealership. A week ago I called my dealership and they told me I cancelled my order in September.WHAT!! I said. No I didn't. Now they tell me Toyota screwed up but I will have a car in two weeks. I wonder. One week has gone by. I wonder if by next week I get another line from them. Toyota didn't screw up my dealership did or else why was I getting correspondance from Toyota yet never hearing from my dealership? HMMM
  • dsgechodsgecho Posts: 89
    If yo mark the color choice on a new Prius request "ANY COLOR AVAILABLE", does this tend to get, on average, a shorter delivery time than asking for a specific color?
  • It may speed up delivery time since you might be able to get a cancelled order. But that does not happen too often.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I haven't asked Toyota about this but I can't imagine that it could shave any more than a week or two off the order. If they have a cancellation on a white one, it would go to the next person in line who will take white. By not being particular in color, you are added to this list but the list includes everybody else who ordered white.
  • paul34bpaul34b Posts: 33
    Well I just received my Prius last night. Signed the papers and I am a proud owner. Living in Maine I have been wondering how well it starts in the cold. After one night in the teens, the car started up just great this morning. Lets keep it that way. So far I really love it. I hope it stays that way.
  • miltkomiltko Posts: 15
    Our Prius was ready on Saturday for pickup. (Never pick up a new car on weekends if you can help it. Place was jammed with the salesman working other clients.) First met with one of two of the Prius certified technicians (shouldn't call these guys mechanic; training is too hard). He spent 15 minutes with does and don'ts, followed by half a hour of our questions (Stevens Creek Toyota in San Jose). Told us to come call or by anytime if we have questions. Our original salesman left the agency and the replacement was not satisfactory. Imagine taking 4 hours to pick up a car for cash.

    We noticed immediately the differences in the braking; you have to push down hard at first and then stop. Apparent reason - takes finite time for computer to switch to regenerative breaking. If you push down hard, the ABS brakes really dig in (while charging the battery). Although this Prius is supposed to have more starting torque than our V6 Camry, pickup felt like maybe the emergency brake was on (no it wasn't). Maybe this is stiffness in the accelerator (which incidently is not attached to the engine, but to a computer input.) Neither of these items bothered us and we got used to them quickly.

    The Prius is delivered with 50% battery charge. At first we noticed that the engine was running all of the time (charging) even at stops but recently there has beenan absence of dash vibration, indicating that the engine is off and quiet. Our second technician contact the second day said that the dash energy display doesn't always indicate the current status????

    You might notice that the Toyota Prius specs call out two permanent magnet motors. The first technician also said there were two motors; a little one that controls the planetary gear ratios and sometiomes runs like hell during braking and a larger one that takes up the slack. However I suspect that the little motor he was talking about is the generator/starter. While I won't put out big bucks for a shop manual for a car I don't intend to work on (take one look under the hood!) I do plan to stop by with Dwain or Jim and look at the diagrams in their agency shop manual.

    This car took a lot of engineering to design. It shows!
  • Ordered a Prius the end of August. It finally showed up at the Rockville, Md. dealer late December (still in time for Chanukah). From the beginning we had problems using the remote lock/unlock feature, particularly on cold mornings. With a full 53 mi. on the car, on Dec. 26 it wouldn't start. Dealer had it towed Dec. 28, sent us to Enterprise to pick up a rental Ford Escort 2001 (paid by Toyota).

    Service folks told us that the 12V battery failed that powers the remote and actually initially starts the car. Said Toyota told him 3-5 days for the part, so give it 10 days. Nope, we couldn't pick up a third-party battery, and nope, the failed battery couldn't be recharged. Oh, and the battery is on back order, Toyota doesn't have a single spare in the U.S.A. Wonderful.

    I'm writing now late Jan. 25. My wife is quite happy with the Escort. My friends are still curious about the Prius, and I wish I had bought an end-of-the-model-year Honda Accord (more car, less price, great spare parts). The dealer's service rep and the Toyota regional office have slightly different stories, but both claimed "my" battery landed in Ontario, Calf. Jan. 15 (regional office version) or Jan. 15 (dealer). Toyota's U.S. warehouses and the folks back in Japan all shut down for (two?) weeks for the Christian New Years, and the dealer's order for the battery sat around 2 weeks before going anywhere within Toyota. (I don't know if they shut down again for the lunar New Year.)

    Apparently the mule caravan transporting the battery is due to arrive tomorrow (don't hold my breath) somewhere, either at the regional office (the dealer's story) or at the dealer's (the regional office's story). I've heard that story before. Anyhow, I zip up to Philadelphia midday tomorrow -- and I expect it will be in the Escort. Well, at least I don't have to worry about keeping under 61 mph with the brand new Escort.

    Hey, folks, don't buy a Prius if you want to drive outside your major metropolitan area unless you've got a second car to make that trip.

    Oh, yes, we were all enthused about the car. Almost ready to forget the long wait when we finally got it. The dealership was real friendly (not like some of the stories I read), very positive about the Prius. But a month to get a 12V battery (if that's what it really was)!!
  • If either of your parents formerly served in the U.S. military* (I believe no longer just for officers), USAA is the way to go, yes, even for a Prius.

    I've always insured with them when I've been in the U.S.A.

    My new Prius (whenever I see it again, but that's another story) is covered by USAA.

    For that matter, I don't recall reading of anyone else having problems getting insurance. Maybe it's where your located and your age...?

    *Or were/are offices in the U.S. Foreign Service or with the U.S. Public Health Service.
  • qrpincqrpinc Posts: 1
    I live in Phoenix. I'm contemplating purchasing a Toyota Prius but I'm wondering if the Prius A/C can handle a typical AZ summer? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
  • A Knight-Ridder chain article, featured on its 1/28 Phila. Inquirer auto pages, reported that Prius 2001 sales stand at 4,400 with another 3,300 on order. It claimed that cars ordered now would be available in March. (My dealer claims a 6 month delay for new orders.)

    This info was in a fluff piece about GM's Precept, a hybrid vehicle allegedly getting 85 mi./gal. I say fluff piece because, buried in the article's text, there's the info that GM has no intention of producing the Precept for the market. Yeah, so it's like all those lab cars that college kids put together that rack up high efficiencies, but are not available to consumers. IBM was famous, when it reigned supreme, for vaporware, now Microsoft has its vaporware. Looks like GM has vaporcars.

    Meanwhile, the missing 12V battery I reported in message 477 continues to be awol. My new, barely used Prius has now been dead at the dealer's since towed there Dec. 28.
  • Hi everyone, I just learned of this group. I took delivery of my 2001 Prius on Sept 1, 2000. Toyota of America says I am the first owner of a Pries in US. In any event, we love the car. Our first two tanks were a measured 52 mpg, but most since have been lower, some much lower in the high 30s. (Never mind what the on-board mpg indicator reads, it's usually way off both plus and minus). It seems that Prius mileage is VERY susceptible to driving light on the accelerator. If we really try we can eke out a 50-52 mpg city/hi way combined tankful, but if we drive "normally" we get 43-47 mpg. WHAT ARE OTHERS' EXPERIENCES WITH ACTUAL MEASURED MILEAGE?

    Also, while the 45 mpg EPA hiway rating seems pretty close, the 52 city rating seems unobtainable to us. ANY COMMENTS ON THSES FROM OTHER OWNERS? We now have 7000 miles on the car with no problems.

    Grant Calkins
    Camarillo, CA
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