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Toyota Prius



  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Oops! Pressing the MAP button a second time won't turn off the NAV system; instead, it provides the closest address (down to the house number) you are next to at that exact moment.

    To return to the INFO ("Energy" or "Consumption") screen, you have to press the INFO button.

  • I should be getting my Prius this Friday. It will have almost 300 miles on it because I am swapping it with someone else (he wanted blue, I wanted silver) who lives in Norther Virginia. I live in Southeast Virginia but work in NY metro area, so I will drive it up to NYC on Sunday. I will let you know how it drives. My current drive is an Acura TL.....
  • That's interesting and potentially useful. Sometimes when I am looking for an address of a building and the building number is no where to be found, looks like this function (pressing MAP a second time) will tell me if I am in the right place.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    ___According to Toyota, Hybrid’s can be cheap as discussed in this article of the same name:,2554,60667,00.html

    Quote: "The worker is installing the hybrid engine system into the Prius just like a regular gasoline engine," assembly manager Yoshihisa Nagatani says proudly, pointing at the shell of a Prius hanging on an overhead conveyor belt as it follows a Camry.

    ___Maybe the Camry hanging above the Prius is a higher profit automobile? Maybe the other 3 mass-produced sedans offer a higher profit then the Prius? There definitely is a limited amount of Prius’ to be built (76,000, 81,000, 100,000, 120,000 possibly?) but I have not heard of a limited amount of other Toyota Sedans for Japan’s own consumption because of the Prius? I can’t tell you the inner workings of what is going on in Toyota City but it sounds like simple economics such as Profits get the cake and loss leaders get the crumbs? I know, that was corny ;)

    ___RCF8000 gave a blow by blow of the 04 Camry vs. 04 Prius in a head to head from a web site ... Going back to Toyota’s mention that Hybrid’s can be cheap, the biggest factor is not that the Camry is ahead with 7 wins, 2 ties and 1 loss vs. the Prius in those specific characteristics being measured but the fact that you can purchase a Toyota Camry LE for ~ $17,999 any day of the week (except Sunday’s in my locale) from just about any large Toyota dealer anywhere in the Chicago land area. These loss? leaders include lumbar and height adjustable driver seat, Intermittent wipers, A/C, PW, PL, PM, Tilt, Cruise, AM/FM/CD w/ 6 speakers and all packaged in a truly mid-size automobile with performance supposedly exceeding the Prius in everything except for mileage and emissions (see below on the PZEV based Camry). If they are that inexpensive here, I suspect they can be purchased on the West Coast, East Coast, Southern States, Northern States, and any where else in the states for that approximate price as well. Even the 01-03 Prius was a $19,500 + vehicle at best and the 04 appears to be a $20,500 + automobile at best.

    ___This is the Achilles heel of the current Prius. What Cheap Hybrid is being discussed or offered? It most certainly isn’t the Prius as the Camry is already much cheaper and has a larger size and more comfort with its purchase? They even make PZEV Camry’s in Ca. so its not emissions. It gas mileage and the new technology. The driver receives nothing but gas mileage in the process given I don’t know if there is a difference between the way the Camry and the Prius drive today. At least I haven’t heard that the Prius is silent on the hwy nor have I heard the Camry is a herky - jerky driver from those that have done side by sides …

    ___I will have to retract my guesstimates on new model costs from Japan. The Prius was probably very expensive given all the new technologies but apparently, the next generation Corolla might have come at a cost between $250 and $500 million according to the article listed here:

    ___As usual, I will end with this. If Toyota can make the Hybrid’s inexpensive, place the HSD in the Corolla LE now for $17,500 and sell 250,000 of them this model year. Place the HSD in the 04 Prius and sell 36,000 - 41,000 of them … Do one better. Place the HSD in a Camry this year for $20,500. Now see how many will sell!

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    for all of its many virtues. People who want something different than the typical mid-sized sedan will take a look at the Prius, whether because of its fuel economy or versatility or styling or high technology or whatever.

    BTW, if we really must compare other cars to the Prius price-wise, we should be a little more fair and equip them a little more comparably. For example, the "stripper" Camrys that go for around $18k in my town have stick shifts, no alloy wheels, no ABS with traction control. And they are '03s (bigger depreciation as you drive off the lot), not '04s like the Prius.

    About that "Achilles' Heel" of the Prius... yes, it's got such a huge heel that Toyota is pushing its plant capacity to the limit to meet demand and is considering investing in expanding its HSD plant to enable it to make even more Priuses. I'd love for the products I sell to have a "heel" like that! :-)
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    I think "what do you think" would include what I think about a Prius vs a Camry. I do think the Camry XLE is more properly compared to the Prius than the LE, but this could be debated. Edmunts says that an XLE can be bought for $21000. Cost considerations appear to favor the Prius, unless you think an LE is equivalent.
  • in the Prius vs. Camry comparison in the Consumer
    Guide that you mention... what consumer guide
    (where can I find it, online or a publication
    date/publisher?) and is the comparison of the
    classic Prius or the 2004 Prius?
  • my understanding is the XLE Camry is made in Japan,
    with the majority of the Camrys being made in
    North America somewhere...

    Check the VIN numbers (first 5 or so digits gives
    the location and plant). for the 2004 Prius the
    starting digits are: JTDKB
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    Go to
  • krooskroos Posts: 3
    Has anyone from the chicago area gotten their 2004 prius yet?
  • I'm suspect already. they list the 2003 Prius as
    a subcompact and the 2004 Prius as a compact, when
    the EPA lists the 2003 as a compact and the 2004
    as a midsize... nid/1627

    Their 2004 review claims that ABS and traction control
    are newly standard for the 2004 (was also std. on the classic)
    and that the warranties have been newly revised
    (yet the timeframe they list for the bumper-to-bumper,
    powertrain, and hybrid are correct for both the
    classic and 2004 Prius). However, they still list
    the free maintenance for the 2004, which is not
    still offered on the 2004. (also lists the incorrect
    # of free maintenances on the 2003 review...)

    as with all reviews, be sure to check your facts.
  • With so many people clamoring for this car it is no surprise the dealers are smiling at our futile attempts to bargain for discounts of any kind, even processing, advertising and other ridiculous fees. When I asked one dealer about a free service/maintenance plan offered for other models the response was, &#147;If you want free service I can smile at you graciously. <insert one-sided laughter here>&#148; Don&#146;t even ask what happened when I suggested they should credit their 2% holdback fee since the car wouldn&#146;t be spending more than 1 day on the lot (Edmunds has a great description of dealer holdback and what it means).

    After receiving similar treatment from 3 dealerships I made the following offer to everyone: &#147;First dealer to waive all fees (except the destination charge of course) gets my deposit; take it or leave it.&#148; Within 12 hours I had a taker and got the deal in writing, along with free maintenance (scheduled service, oil changes and tire rotations) and a loaner car for the first 2 years/24,000 miles.

    &#147;Whatever the market will bear&#148; may be the mantra of our friendly neighborhood Toyota dealers, but it still hurts to see the exorbitant profit margins they garner on the Prius. For my 04&#146; model with package 9 the margin swells to over whopping 13% (factoring in holdback reimbursement to the dealer). Of course if I close my eyes and pretend that the $2k tax credit doesn&#146;t exist, I can reason that my out of pocket expense to dealer profit is limited to more a reasonable 4%.

    Remember that the tax credit drops to $1500 in 2004 so if you want the car, put down your deposit immediately. When you do so, make sure you get it in writing that the deposit is refundable if you cannot take delivery this year.

    Even though this probably reads as a negative buying experience, I went in expecting the responses I received. Most everyone I spoke with was very professional and amicable; they were simply not permitted to budge on any prices/fees for any reason. Regardless, I cannot wait to take delivery next month. Except for the limited rear viewing area I love most everything about the car.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I hate to open a can of worms, but how would you feel if someone looked at your salary and declared it "exorbitant". Dealers sell low-demand cars at a loss and make it up when they charge more for high-demand cars. It's called a free market.

    I do think dealers should be open and honest about fees and not try and sneak them past in the finance-mgr's office. Beyond this, I think they're free to ask whatever price they want and we're free to try and do better elsewhere.

    - Mark
  • Dear markjen &#150;
    Respectfully, my comments reflected an honest assessment of my actual buying experience, as requested by other Town Hall members. In that assessment I have provided factual information and figures that I hope will be of use to other prospective buyers.

    That said, I completely agree with your opinion that dealers may charge what they will and that the consumer may vote with his or her wallet. Toyota dealerships have every right to their piece of the American way.

    As a savvy consumer who appreciates like-minded people, it pleases me to inform people how much money a dealer will make on their purchase. This is not mainstream information and most people don&#146;t figure it out for themselves. I believe in well-informed consumers who understand the true value of their purchase, and the loss their Prius takes from the moment they drive off the lot.

    Is the Prius worth it? Personally I definitely agree. However, I owe my decision to purchase the Prius to the $2000 tax credit. If it were any less I would have walked away unless I could get the dealer to lower the cost of the car.

    Please remember that each sale gives the dealer as much as $2500-3000 profit! All this for about six hours of work (i.e., sales/finance support and dealer prep), and zero overhead cost for storage or periodic cleaning since the car never sits on the lot. It makes one wonder who the tax credit is really benefiting? Ask yourself if there would be as much demand at current prices if the tax credit did not exist.

    To markjen, I hope you can respect my opinion as I respect yours. I make no claim that we should presume car dealers are dishonest. My primary concern simply remains with the consumer and not the dealers; especially when they are opposed to any &#147;deal.&#148; Also, I will not apologize for providing useful information that certain retailers might prefer remain unpublicized.
    Best regards,
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Dave, I completely respect your opinion, but having never run a car dealership, I don't profess to know what is an "adequate profit" and I don't think you do either. Yes, the dealer may make $3K profit on virtually zero incremental overhead for your particular car, but something has to pay for real estate, building, lights, taxes, employee benefits, etc. and these have to be spread out among all the cars that are sold.

    Your advice to know what the dealer is paying is sound because it gives you a starting point for negotiation, but I just think you should leave the value judgements (e.g., "exorbitant") out of it. The car's price reflects supply and demand, nothing more and nothing less. Whether the dealer is sending his kids to a community college or to Harvard is none of our business in the same way that what you make in your job is none of my business.

    - Mark
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Convincing someone to pay about $300 more for a car that gets 2 MPG less for the sake of PZEV (amazingly clean emissions) is a very difficult task.

    Convincing someone to purchase a car with HSD, which not only provides PZEV but also offers a +20 MPG improvement, is an entirely different matter... much easier.

    HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) is currently available in the 2004 Prius. And I just happen to own one!

    Anywho, I filled up the tank yesterday after having driven 420 miles. The calculated result was 49.0 MPG. That's amazing considering the hybrid isn't even broken in yet and that the average driving temperature was only 39F degrees. (Cold causes MPG to drop quite a bit in all vehicle types.) And now, 85 miles later, the Multi-Display show 51.7 MPG (which should calculate to about 50).

    I'm quite pleased, so far.

    Stay tuned for updates as I continue to add miles and as the temperature drops much lower (I live in Minnesota).

  • Markjenn,
    Since you admit that you have little knowledge of the industry I am quite surprised you would gratuitously accuse me of being equally uninformed. In point of fact my knowledge of the industry is considerable. That fact does not change because you say so. I have provided accurate figures that you have not and will not be able to refute logically. Please refrain from writing insults that have no merit because you do not like the facts or my opinions.

    I now understand why my use of the word "exhorbitant" bothered you. Perhaps you would have appreciated my "value judgement" if you knew that industry standards consistently show dealers do very well with a 5-7% profit. Some organizations advocate offers as low as 3% over invoice. That said, I definitely feel a near 13% profit is exhorbitant. Regardless I am paying that amount only because of the $2000 tax credit. Perhaps I should have clarified my position earlier.

    I am certain the moderator does not appreciate personal attacks on a message board dedicated to facts and opinions on the "value" of the 2004 Toyota Prius.

    Since my previous messages have served to identify facts regarding my buying experience and my opinion on its overall value, I consider your line of argument without merit and therefore closed. Please open a seperate forum if you wish to continue this discussion logically without gratuitous assertions.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Backy:

    ___The 04 Camry LE&#146;s being listed for sale here in Chicago come equipped as posted. If you want to go upscale, go a few pages back for the XLE info. As for pushing Prius product, they are up to 41,000 Prius&#146; for the US now? They sure are pushing hard ... Toyota produces as many Corolla&#146;s and Camry&#146;s in a month then the entire run of Prius&#146; for the year. Something seems to be out of whack is all?

    ___RCF8000, as for the XLE, not only is it much bigger, faster, and more comfortable, it also includes power adjustable seats, leather, sunroof, etc. as mentioned earlier.

    ___Dave_0471, if you purchased the Prius because of a Tax credit, you may be in for a surprise while doing your next years taxes. From my understanding, you receive a tax deduction, not a credit from the US government unfortunately. It&#146;s worth $2,000 X your tax rate ... I believe Colorado has a credit for state taxes (I am sure there are others) but the US government is a bit more frugal ...

    ___John1701a, have you bumped up the tire pressures like on the old Prius yet? I found an ~ 2 mpg increase from 32 to 37 and another 1 mpg at 40#&#146;s using the GY Integrity&#146;s myself.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "How would you feel if someone looked at your salary and declared it exorbitant?"

    The likelihood is that his or her employer does that very thing on a fairly regular basis. The employer, "buyer" of the employee's "goods" never wants to pay an exorbitant price, while most sellers, the employees, would likely be perfectly very content in that realm.

    markjenn has the apples and oranges confused.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    John, is your driving predominantly city or highway, or what mix of the two?

    Wayne, maybe you didn't read the articles about the Prius factory that were posted earlier. I thought the one story made it clear that Prius production is gated now on the capacity of the HSD factory, and Toyota is thinking about enlarging it to increase production on the Prius even beyond what they can do by adding a third shift to the auto assembly plant. I guess I just don't see what is "out of whack" about the fact that Toyota has the capacity to make many more Camrys and Corollas--its two most popular car lines--than Priuses. Doesn't Toyota have multiple factories around the world making those cars? I think the production target on the Prius is up to 120,000 worldwide for the first year, per one of those articles. I get this weird feeling that "Wayne R. Gerdes" is a pseudonym for Fox Mulder, and you are looking for a secret plot by Toyota. But that can't be true, right, Fox--er, Wayne? ;-)
  • 2004 Toyota Prius Certified for Clean-Burning Fuel Deduction

    IR-2003-114, Oct. 6, 2003

    WASHINGTON &#151; The Internal Revenue Service has certified the 2004 Toyota Prius as being eligible for the clean-burning fuel deduction. The certification means taxpayers who purchase a new hybrid vehicle may claim a tax deduction of up to $2,000 on Form 1040.

    Federal tax law allows individuals to claim a deduction for the incremental cost of buying a motor vehicle that is propelled by a clean-burning fuel. By combining an electric motor with a gasoline-powered engine, these hybrid vehicles obtain greater fuel efficiency and produce fewer emissions than similar vehicles powered solely by conventional gasoline-powered engines.

    Under current law, the clean-burning fuel deduction will be reduced incrementally until it expires beginning 2007. Purchasers of IRS-certified cars will be able to claim a deduction of $2,000 if the vehicle is placed in service on or before Dec. 31, 2003. The $2,000 maximum deduction will be reduced by 25 percent for vehicles placed into service in 2004, by 50 percent in 2005 and by 75 percent in 2006. No deduction will be allowed for vehicles placed in service after Dec. 31, 2006.

    Under the law, the one-time deduction must be taken in the year the vehicle was originally used. The taxpayer must be the original owner. Individuals take this benefit as an adjustment to income on their Form 1040. They do not have to itemize deductions on their tax returns to claim it. To claim the deduction, write &#147;clean fuel&#148; on Line 33 of the 2003 Form 1040. Also, see the Instructions for Form 1040.

    The amount of the deduction for the Prius was set after the manufacturer, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., documented for the IRS the incremental cost related to the vehicle&#146;s electric motor and related equipment.

    The IRS previously certified the Toyota Prius for model years 2001, 2002 and 2003. The IRS also previously certified the Honda Insight for model years 2000, 2001 and 2002 and the Honda Civic Hybrid for model year 2003.

    Related Item: Previous certification announcements.

    Subscribe to IRS Newswire
  • Some states do have a tax credit for hybrid vehicles.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > have you bumped up the tire pressures

    I'm running 42/40 now.

    I did that with fantastic results for the first 18,000 miles on the Goodyears on my 2001 (very similar to what the 2004 comes with). Then I bumped them to 44/42. That made it so you could feel every detail in the road. I liked it that way. The increased awareness is rather helpful when driving on snow & ice.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > John, is your driving predominantly city or highway,
    > or what mix of the two?

    It's a mix.

    My commute favors suburb type driving (up 55 MPH). And on the weekends I open it up on the highways (up to 70 MPH).

    Lifetime calculated value for my 2001 Prius after 59,827 miles was 45.4 MPG, with winter lows near 40 and summer highs at 50.

  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Backy:

    ___The 04 Prius arrives w/ ABS as std. but not traction control. You must purchase Package # 7 or 9 for that. As far as the production line is concerned, then why has everything linked here talk about the production line instead of the where the HSD engines are made? As for the Fox Mulder stuff, you are whacky.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > arrives w/ABS as std. but not traction control
    > You must purchase Package # 7 or 9 for that.

    You are thinking of the VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) package option.

    Traction-Control is standard.

  • Wow! You are absolutely correct fndlyfmrflyr! What I thought was a tax credit is indeed a tax deduction which translates to a return of about $675 instead of $2000. My error resulted from a failure to check up on the dealers who consistently stated it was indeed a tax credit. The fault is mine and I should have known better.

    Since I now see that my Prius is going to cost about $1300 more than I previously thought, I must revise my previous statements. I no longer believe the Prius is worth the money.

    For those who have read my previous messages, I am putting my money where my mouth is and will get my deposit back today (yes, it&#146;s fully refundable and specifically written into the contract). Some lucky person on the waiting list will get my car when it arrives in the next couple weeks.

    Obviously I&#146;m disappointed the $2000 is a deduction and not a credit. Regardless, thank you so much for the correction. This just goes to prove how helpful these message boards truly are!
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Dave, you still don't get the point. I'm not arguing what's a fair profit - I'm arguing that it doesn't matter. It's like arguing whether the price of milk is fair or not. A free market prices things by supply/demand - the value judgment of a fair profit has no bearing. It doesn't influence how much you pay nor does it influence how much you should pay.

    I see people constantly using the term "gouging" to describe dealers charging over MSRP. But I never see them willing to describe themselves as gougers by offering less than MSRP. Why is this a one-way street?

    In your particular case, I see you are backing out. if you deem the car is not worth the money, you've made a good decision. But if you are backing out of your car deal because you think the dealer is making too much profit, then you're losing out on a car that may be a great value to you, regardless of what the profit margin the dealer is making.

    Put another way, let's say you're looking at two cars and the market price of A is $1000 over MSRP and B is $1000 under MSRP. And let's say these market prices work out exactly the same. If you still like A better than B, then you should select A, regardless of the fact that the dealer for A is making an exorbitant $2K more. (This situation happens all the time with Honda dealers who generally have much higher profit margins than, say, Chevy dealers. Should we not buy Hondas because dealers make more?)

    What the dealer makes is immaterial! It is valuable data for negotiations to get the best price, but in the final analysis, the market sets the price, not the dealer or the customer. We should always focus on the price - not the discount!

    I never intended to insult you throughout this discussion and I don't understand why you are taking it that way. Regardless, I apologize.

    Yep, a can of worms. I'll bow out and let John pitch the car.

    - Mark
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Only with an unlimited supply....

    Artificially limiting the supply skews the market price.
  • I don't know how accurate this is but I've been having extended discussion with a St. Louis dealer that I've had excellent service/pricing from when purchasing other manufacturer's cars, they carry several lines at multiple dealerships in St. Louis.

    He said Toyota was strictly controlling pricing on the Prius. They state that it costs them $25,000 to manufacture every Prius before options so they're actually taking a slight loss on each vehicle. The intention, he stated, was to build the market for a technology they're committed to and increase demand for the other 5 lines that are going hybrid over the next five years (Highlander, Tundra, Corolla, Camry, etc.). Sorry I don't remember the other models or sequence exactly.
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