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Toyota Highlander Hybrid



  • oldjayhawkoldjayhawk Posts: 36
    Did you negotiate a price lower than their offer price (though already a discount off MSRP)? Other dealers would not budge because of the high demand of HH.
  • cknoxcknox Posts: 8
    I too had to call the Toyota number - 1-800-331-4331. My example of bad dealer behaviour was pretty severe. I put down a $500 deposit with my dealer (Janesville, WI, btw, Stay Away!), and was to have first right of refusal for any HH coming in, although they knew specifically what I was looking for (Bluestone Limited 4WD, no NAV). They always said they were trying to trade out for another vehicle for me, but were unsuccessful.

    Another nearby dealer that I had spoken to at one point called me with the vehicle I wanted - his buyer had dropped out for some reason. I called the first dealer and said I'd like to get my money back. I was informed that not only would they not refund my $500, but they wanted me to pay a 5% penalty on the cost of the vehicle (which comes to a hefty $2000). This is within a dealer's right in Wisconsin provided you are refusing to take delivery of a vehicle that they specifically ordered for you. That said, they didn't actually order me a vehicle, and they didn't even have a vehicle for me to refuse to take! They just wanted me to keep hanging on with them in hopes of them one day getting lucky and getting what I wanted. It's not like they couldn't sell the next one prior to it coming in the door, so I failed to see how there was any upside to this for them, other than being flat-out greedy.

    I called Toyota, the Customer service person was extremely helpful, and faxed over a complaint to my dealer while I was still on the phone. The next morning, I received a call from the dealer stating that an "Executive Decision" was made to refund my money. They did insist on me driving 35 miles to come to them to sign off on the paperwork, however, even though they were more than happy to pay for FEDEX both ways when I signed up with them to begin with.

    All's well then ends well, I suppose, as my new HH will be here in a couple weeks at the other dealer. The funny thing is, I would have been happy to let the bad dealer keep a hundred bucks or so for their time and effort, but they had to be jerks about it. I hope Toyota keeps a record of dealer-specific complaints!
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Just confirmed that 1 LA (Carson) area dealership has lowered price on Highlander hybrid by $1000 below MSRP. This applies to all vehicles (Base and Limited) in stock on their lot. Our local San Jose CA dealer so far has not responded to our query so we assume they are not budging for now.

    For forum members in CA still waiting for a vehicle, it may be worthwhile to call around and "shop" a bit. At this rate, one wonders what will happen in 3 months, may be $2000 off MSRP?
  • otis1otis1 Posts: 142
    Just for the heck of it, I went to the carson web site and saw they had 21 cars in their online inventory! So I can see why they would be dropping their price to clear out some of these cars. But what I can't understand is this: I thought california was the epicenter for hybrid sales. I can understand isolated markets here and there across the US seeing some of their cars sittin on the lots, but I wouldn't have figured that for california (only based on media and what a couple of midwest dealers told me).

    So far there's this dealer in LA, in addition to kenosha and laurel that are advertising $1000 off. I got to think that as long as other dealers have waiting lists, they wont be discounting. If we're seeing excess inventories in certain markets, is this an indication that waiting lists will soon dry up?? (why would toyota continue to send cars to areas where the HH isn't selling well when they could be sending cars to areas with the most severe shortages)

    I wonder if demand for the HH is not as hot as we first imagined (1 year waiting list???) I'm sure there were people that put their names on multiple waiting lists, speculator who put their names down only to sell on eBay, and people who just decided to back out. who knows, at this rate maybe toyota will be selling the HH at "employee pricing" next summer to clear them out before the redesigned 2007 comes out.
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    I suspect that the HH's are selling decently,but not"like hotcakes".They are just too expensive(the"cheapest' one would be close to $38000 now with TTL) to buy to "save on gas"..The HH is for someone who is considering a $30000 Expedition,Suburban,Pilot,Highlander,but decided to go greener and more efficient.Only a small percent of buyers(maybe 20%) can afford a $40,000 vehicle.
    Now,if gas runs up another $1,sales will pick up.
    Carson is a HUGE online discounter well know all over the country.They probably get more hybrids than any other dealer in the USA.I would bet that their sales are why they get the huge allocation.They usually have 20+ Priuses also.Luck,Charlie
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    I very much agree with Phoebeisis. The HH is very expensive and while some can easily afford this vehicle, some of us buy it because we judge it able to meet some practical needs beyond just gas savings. One has to already be looking at other vehicles in the same size and weight class before a HH will be of interest.

    Carson is a big shop comparable to CarMax so they naturally have more vehicles.

    Most regular size dealers in CA we contacted implied that AWD are more popular than FWD, gold and blue models are also more popular than other colors. The dealerships in Central CA are actually selling quite well. While we were waiting for ours, we kept a list of links to all their on-line inventory listings hoping to snag one before our turn. We watched vehicles arrived and sold at a brisk pace. The ones that took the longest to move were the Black and SuperWhite models, AWD or FWD. We did not notice any significant interest in AWD over FWD models in our area because they would all sell within days. Of course, these are all superficial observations only.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    I for one am happy to hear that HH sales are not as strong as expected. For ordinary folks, the ordinary $25,000 (if you leave off the $1,100 for Toyoguard and extra dealers' fees) Highlander is a really nice vehicle. Add a $3,000 hybrid premium to that and you get a HH for $28,000. Even with the apparently inevitable dealer fiddles it should come to less than $30,000.

    If Toyota marketed the HH as a green machine for people who did not demand excess, it could be a real publicity coup. That is not to say they can't make the more expensive models for those who want them, but what kind of baloney is it to brag about saving $500 a year in fuel and then jacking the price up by $7,000 by adding extra seats, a moonroof and fancy wheels. What is it, a sensible car for sensible people or a pimpmobile? Okay, that's a stupid question. This is America; our car buying poseurs want to appear to be sensible while actually demanding excess.

    I hope they do better in the future. It would be nice to see a 4 cylinder HH, that performed like the V6, that was simple, light and got really good fuel economy. That would definitely put the message across -- no compromise in performance and big savings.
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    tsotsi,if I had my way,I would outfit the base HH to list for just what you say-$28000.Dump the close to useless-for adults- 3rd row(lose maybe 40 lbs).No leather,no fancy stereo-just a CD player am-fm radio.I can get a Roady for $49.95 that works fine.No moonroof
    The only Lux features I would want would be-side side curtain airbags,and power drivers seat.If the manual seat had as full a range(they never do) of adjustability as the power seat,I would go manual.Dump the power windows also.I would keep the power locks-it is a pain to try to reach across my cheapo stripped Titan XEKC Side curtain truck because of no power locks(which can be added aftermarket).
    In truth ,I don't think anyone will offer a $30,000 with manual windows.
    So dump the 3rd row and dump the fancy stereo,leave the airbags,and give me a power seat,power mirrors,power locks.No roofrack-kills mpg-just set it up so you can add a rack if you want to.
    If gasoline prices drop a bit post summer and before fall-winter heating oil drive up oil prices,maybe there will be some $33000 base FWD HH's available for $33000 with no dealer dist added garbage.Who needs side steps on such a low vehicle?Al least you are getting something when they add sidesteps-with the dealer-scotchgard etc,you get nothing for $600.
    If nothing happens to gas prices,maybe there will be some $33000 ones out there in early fall.If prices spike-the HH demand will spike.Folks have become accustomed to $2.25(New Orleans) and $2.75(CA) gas.The HH was introduced to a market that had adj to the high prices.If the $.75 spike had just happened there really would be a huge waiting list.I have run on,sorry.Charlie
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I hope they do better in the future. It would be nice to see a 4 cylinder HH, that performed like the V6

    I think you are in the majority, and the reason the HH & RH are not selling as expected.
  • tomslycktomslyck Posts: 70
    We had an experience with online inventories. In January we were looking for a car for my wife. We found that a dealer in the San Fernando Valley had 12 in their online inventory. So we drove the 35 miles and talked to a sales person. He went through the 12 VIN numbers in his computer and found that they had all been sold. I have no idea what they hoped to gain by having an inaccurate online inventory, but we'll never go there again.

    Just because the Carson dealer has 21 HHs listed doesn't mean they're there.
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    True,it is a good idea to make sure that they are actually there before making a trip.Most folks call or email an online dealer 1st for obvious reasons.
    Carson however isn't a Podunk Online dealer;they are 1st rate.There online numbers will change daily.If a vehicle is presold-it will note that-if it is not there yet,it will show a delivery date.If they say 21,they probably started the day with 21.They sell a lot of vehicles-I have watched their Prius inventory drop from high 20's to 19 over the last week or so.Charlie
    PS I think the HH is selling well,but it isn't selling like the 04 Prius was(I think that is what a lot of folks expected-I did).People were regularly paying over $30,000 for a MSRP $24000 Prius.The HH's just aren't selling the way a lot of rapacious dealers were hoping they would sell.One dealer was trying to sell a $38000 MSRP HH for $480000-Ha,Ha.There were also folks trying to sell"places in line,and right to buys" for >$500.This stuff flew with the Prius,but not with the HH.Folks have gotten accustomed to ~$2.75 gas,and the HH just wouldn't make the dramatic difference in your gasoline bill that the Prius could.It is also at least $100000 more than a Prius-Heck,you could buy a new 4cyl Highlander($22000)+ a new Corolla($13000) for the price of the cheapest HH.It is an expensive car-very nice,but close to lux class in price.Charlie
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I believe Lexus earmarked an estimate of 12,000 for the first year. According to sales figures they will definitely achieve that goal. I am not sure what they estimated for the HiHy. I can afford either vehicle, but I would not spend the money when their gas counterpart has the same features, less complexity and achieves similar, albeit, less MPG. I understand the green factor and so forth,as well as supporting the technology, it is just too much money. OTOH, I am in support of the Prius because that vehicle to me makes more sense. I am going to get an '06 in Nov/Dec.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    What Toyota is doing with its HH and Lexus RX400h may be good for profits in the short term, but I think it is a little deceptive. The Camry is a good, even great, car in the $20k range and Toyota uses that same basic, moderately priced floorpan and some of its running gear for its Highlander and Lexus RX400h. The question is: how expensive can a car get and still be a reasonable deal if it is built on a basic foundation? If VW put a Porsche engine, leather seats and a few bits of wood in its base model would it be worth as much as a BMW?

    Every buyer has to decide for himself, but I think using an inexpensive chassis -- no matter how well engineered -- and adding the hybrid system and lots of extras does not make it a real 40 or 50 thousand dollar car. Lexus RX44hs are selling for well over $50,000 -- that is getting up in the price range of cars that were designed from the chassis up to be great handling and riding. I think Toyota is just exploiting the current fad for hybrids with the HH. They got serious with the Prius and designed it from scratch to be a real breakthrough car. They could have just taken an Echo and stuck the hybrid drivetrain in -- that is the kind of thinking they used to come up with the HH.

    Don't get me wrong, I think the HH is a good car . . . just not a good buy at the prices they are asking. You can gold plate something, but it isn't the same as solid gold.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    believe Lexus earmarked an estimate of 12,000 for the first year.

    I was basing my opinion on the reports of RH & HH sitting on lots. Plus most of those reporting here were expecting a long wait and were all of a sudden at the top of the list. That means many of those that signed on early to the lists backed out when their turn came around. They will probably sell the allotted cars, just not to the people they thought wanted them. For every day a car sits on the lot it costs money.
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    Two of my friends were on the list and backed out. One friend leased the Land Rover Discovery 3 for LESS than $400 per month for 24 mos. My other friend ended up buying a Mercedes. There still is a wait around here, but not long.
  • otis1otis1 Posts: 142
    Can someone who speaks "lawyer" translate how much of a tax credit a HH is eligible for?? I was reading over in the prius section about this new energy bill. Here's a link to the bill

    the tax credit starts on page 1402.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    I think that this tax credit is applicable to the manufacturors only, it is a buisness tax credit, to be applied against the business tax. I'm with you, maybe a lawyer could figure it out.

    But in any case there is a catch-22 here, if I read the charts correctly. Even if the tax applies to personal taxation, the credit is computed against the MPG increase of the vehicle when measured against the 2002 model year. Unfortunately, the Prius II hasn't increased the mileage that much over Prius I, so the tax credit for Prius would be either $400 or $800. The HH would probably qualify for a $400 credit. Not chicken feed, but equivilent to the current amount saved by most people with the $2000 deduction available now.
  • otis1otis1 Posts: 142
    If you look in the 'prius buying experiene' forum, there's a link to an article where toyota claims the prius would be eligible for a $2500-3000 credit. Maybe toyota's lawyers are also having problems interpreting this new bill. I also tried to calculate a number, and it came out big. I just don't want to post anything because i have no idea if I interpreted the language correctly and don't want to give any misinformation.

    But if my calculations are correct, it's enough to make me consider holding off my purchase until january.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    I went to the congressional website and read the bill. The bill says the credit is based on the comparison with a 2002 model. If you compare the Prius to a 2002 Camry, for example, it would be a big credit. However, there was a Prius in 2002, and I think that would be the comparison vehicle. But I'm not a lawyer (thank goodness)!

    I think the article was not an official Toyota article, but rather a news article about Toyota.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Having re-read the clauses, it looks like the Prius would qualify for a $1600 credit. The HCH would qualify for $1200. It's hard to say on the Prius because the calculation is based on vehicle weight, an the Prius weight is in between two values. The HCH is almost exactly on a value.

    However,there are strict limits on how many vehicles can have the credit applied. The first 60,000 vehicles get the full credit. The full credit then goes on for one calendar quarter. Then for the next two quarters, the credit is 50%, for the next two quarters after that, the credit is 25%. After that - no more tax credit.

    Since Toyota sells other Hybrids, I think it would be "first come, first served". But it looks like there is a chance that Toyota could have the incentive at least throughout 2006, if they take 3 quarters to sell 60,000 vehicles. Then the incentives would go down in 2007, and be non-exist (for Toyota) after that.

    Note that this means that Ford and Honda will have the incentives for quite a while, due to their lower volume. GM may be having the incentives until 2009, when they end (not that they are worth as much, since their hybrid truck isn't that much better in fuel economy).

    So, get 'em while you can. Only Congress could have come up with something as lame-brained as this...
  • ursurs Posts: 2
    Hi all
    Due to popular demand, Sunnyvale Toyota is holding another Prius/Highlander Hybrid workshop for anybody interested in this technology. Beside their technical staff, they will have Mario Jaime, TMS Technical Supervisor from Toyota there. I have attended two workshops so far, and both where very informative. They setup their service department with chairs, cars, and demo parts (such as batteries, planetary gears, electronics’ etc). After a short intro, it is mostly questions and answers, with plenty of time left for one on one discussion with the technical staff and a detailed look into the actual hardware. Since they also provide a small snack and drinks, and seating is limited, they would like you to drop them an email if you want to attend.
    I am personally hoping to get more info on the actual workings of the Hybrid Highlander 4WD system as well as long-term maintenance on my Prius (how do I know my HV battery is still OK?).

    Prius/Highlander Hybrid workshop
    Tuesday, August 9, 2005
    6:30 PM-9:00 PM
    Toyota Sunnyvale
    898 West El Camino Real
    Sunnyvale CA 94078
    Stefanie at 408-716-1881

    Urs and Brigitte Steiner
    White 04 Prius BC with 29K
    White 06 HH 4WD with 0.009K and loving both……
  • mevandemevande Posts: 190
    I just priced the 4wd HH (not the limited model) and came up with ""Base Price Base $30,814 Retail $34,430
    Selected Options $1,391 $1,770
    Destination Charge $565 $565
    Total Base $32,770 Retail $36,765

    I am confused re: all the post saying its a 40K car?


    PS, With a new model (ie radical design change vs current Highlanders), I bet 11 months out or so there will be some 'steals". Toyota will want to clear way for the 1st major re-deign in a very long time! :)
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    A couple of reasons-
    1)$37000 becomes $40000 with TTL
    2)Right now most dealers won't sell you that vehicle for $36,765.They will sell for what they say is MSRP,but it is actually MSRP+ the price of BS distributor+dealer add ons like"protection package-scotchgard,wax=$600" and pinstripes=$250 and all the other junk-sidesteps(aftermarket) that cost $600,or cheezy aftermarket leather to replace the "wears like iron cloth"=$1200.
    The least expensive HH I have heard of anyone buying is $35600 for a base model 2wd.Before dealer add ons-but with a few factory add ons and delivery(which you might not want,but at least are decent items) it might have been $33500.Thanks.Charlie
    PS If gas prices don't spike,maybe you will actually be able to get one "out the door" for $35000 someday.
  • hhvahhva Posts: 37
    Just read Brock Yates column in Sept. 05 Car & Driver. He is writing about gas/electric hybrids and states: "a number of EMT and fire crews have announced that they will refuse to rescue victims trapped in such vehicles, openly fearing electrocution or fatal acid burns."

    I just got a Hh and love everything about it. Yates column is a little unsettling. Thoughts, links, etc.
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    Brock Yates has always been a FOS blowhard;now he is a FOS Blowhard approaching senility.Any-ANY- EMT crew that would refuse to rescue folks in such a situation would be fired!!Heck,a gasoline fire is much worse,and much more likely than electrocution or"an acid burn" from a Hybrid.He either made that up,or "drummed up" the quote(not attributed to anyone,I bet?) by talking to the EMT folks and priming them by saying"aren't you scared of the electricity or the batteries?".Gee,firemen regularily go in burning houses with 220 volts (and a hell of a lot of amps).Cars already have acid in the batteries!
    Who are these crews that have"openly announced"?If they really had,why didn't he mention them?Typical BS with no attribution.
    They will rescue folks trapped in vehicles with 25 gallons of gas,and a 1000 degree catcon,but not one with electricity and "extra batteries".
    I'm not dead sure what Toyota has done to minimize the risk of "getting shocked",but I suspect they haven't just crossed their fingers.
    I have read Yates for years-on and off-he is anti green because he thinks "those"folks are "out to get his sportscar" and "green types" are antiperformance.
    "Regular" batteries can produce H2 in certain circumstances,and they can blow up.Charlie
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    The following three articles are in Sunday's New York Times Automobiles section 12:

    You may have to register (it's free) to read them. The jist of the articles, that include much test driving, is that the fuel efficiency of the Lexus RX 440h and Toyota Highlander SUV hybrids was very dissappointing. There was barely any mileage difference between them and their much less expensive gasoline-powered relatives.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Toyota has released the diagrams of the high power line locations. They run under the floor. I would think that emergency personnel would know about the high voltage lines. This whole thing was hashed out about 8 months ago on these discussion groups.
  • waltrdewaltrde Posts: 26
    This non-issue is often brought up by ignorant Hybrid bashers (I do mean ignorant in the literal sense). I first saw it brought up during the '04 Prius frenzy. For some reason I never saw any question of hybrids endangering response teams during the 01-03 Prius run. I guess there wasn't enough hype to bring out the reactionaries.

    In any event, Toyota, and I expect Honda and Ford, has taken several steps ensure electrical safety in an accident. Those that I'm aware:

    If the air bags deploy, the High voltage batteries are disconnected at the source by a relay
    Same thing if there is no 12 Volt current to the relay

    The high voltage (HV) cables are bright orange, you can't miss them as long as there is some light.

    The HV cables are recessed under the body (this is why there is what seems to be a transmission/driveshaft hump down the center of the Prius and HH in a vehicle with no shaft to the rear wheels)

    They run down the center of the vehicle where they are best protected from damage and where emergency responders are unlikely to encounter them (when do they use the Jaws of Life to cut into a car at the bottom., center of the car?

    The batteries are NiMH, not lead acid. (Acid spill my foot) they are in a case, either under the rear seat or in the trunk in the least likely part of the vehicle to incure damage.

    Toyota released a training document for emergency responders to help them avoid any possible hazards

    You are more likely to get shocked/burned by the 12V accessory battery than the High Voltage Traction battery.
  • newdad2newdad2 Posts: 1
    I just recently went to buy a Honda Odyssey and have also had trouble getting my deposit back. I'm in NY state, and apparently there are lots of laws about the dealer being forced to refund deposits of contracts that are not fully executed, but on lease deals - it's much murkier...

    I saw a "tough to find" car that I liked at dealership A, liked it and asked them to talk to me about pricing options. They would only do it if I put a "binder" on the car. Since I was serious, I agreed and they wrote up a lease contract (although I asked for a purchase contract - they said "oh don't worry, if you don't lease, we can just tear this up and write up a purchase contract) and charged my credit card a $500 "deposit".

    I had left the dealership (after speaking with their finance people) with every intent on purchasing although maybe not from them - their finance guy was a bit too vague on real numbers for my taste. I even called them the next day with questions about the purchase process and was told they couldn't talk to me on the phone - I had to come in.

    After looking around the next day, I decided to purchase an Odyssey from a different dealership. When I went back for my $500 - they claimed it was non-refundable since I had contracted to lease the car. I've called the credit card company (CitiBank) and told them to dispute the charge - here's the kicker... The dealership hasn't yet charged me! The amount they put through on the credit card was only an "authorization" and they haven't yet charged the card.

    Bottom line - do I call the BBB and the consumer help line from the Attorney General's office about their sleezy sales tactics (don't worry, we can rip up that lease contract if it doesn't work out) or (assuming they don't charge the card) let this go and make sure my friends never shop there?
  • waltrdewaltrde Posts: 26
    I can think a two reasons why the HH and RH have the 6-cyl and not a 4-cyl.

    1. The design was initially for the Lexus market to give Lexus an 8-cyl equivalent powerplant for the RX400 without slapping a V-8 in it to better compete with the other premium mid-sized sports utes. The HH came along for the ride. No way Lexus was going to sell a 4-cylinder engine in an RX. I don't think Toyota sells many 4-cylinder Highlanders for that matter.

    2. Toyota needed show that the Synergy Drive could scale up to a V-6 with V-8 power in preparation of releasing the Hybrid pickup down the road. One day in the not two distant future Toyota should be offering a Hybrid Tundra and it ain't going to come with a 4 banger.

    As for disappointing fuel economy gains versus the standard V-6, a comparison between the V-6 and the V-8 4-Runner might be a better benchmark for the relative fuel economy of a Highlander/Lexus. Yes, the 4-Runner is a truck-based SUV, but They are darn close in dimensions and weight. The 4Runner is only 260 pounds heavier, 5 inches longer and 2 inches wider than the HH and .2 inches lower.

    A hybrid design can only do so much for economy by itself. If the ICE doesn't get down sized with the addition of the electric motor, mostly what you get is more power when you need it and waste less when you don't. The Prius gets excellent fuel economy because it was designed for extremely low emissions and high fuel economy tends to come with that. It would be a total dog if it had to rely on the ICE alone, but it the combined output of the hybrid drive produces reasonable performance. Toyota could have designed the HH/RH to get excellent fuel economy by using a smaller engine or tuning the existing V-6 to use less fuel while maintaining the same road performance of the conventional V-6 Highlander, but what they wanted was more power, so that's mostly what you get. The Accord Hybrid (designed for high performance as well) goes so far as to cut off 3 cylinders at cruise to get a economy boost comparable to the HH. The GMC hybrid pickup gets 1 mpg better than it's otherwise identical brethren.

    Lastly, most differences are best viewed in terms of percentage change. With that, the lower the original economy in absolute numbers, the lower the absolute value of change for a giving percent improvement. For example, a 25% improvement from 20 mpg is only 25 mpg (doesn't sound all that great), while a 25 percent improvement over 40 mpg is 50 mpg (now that's something) so if real world fuel economy of HH falls between the 4-cylinder and conventional 6-cylinder that's to be expected.
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