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2004-2009 Toyota Prius Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • bob104bob104 Posts: 94
    A check of>coupons/specials reveals that Civic hybrids are on special. Also leftover 07 Civics. You might get a phenomenal deal on a new 07Civic hybrid. Try $17,000, what the heck.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Hello all,

    About to buy a Prius.. I think. Got the Costco price, $300 over invoice, and 1 dealer quoted me for Invoice price w/option 4 package; 24,074. However I see in the printout there is a dealer holdback of $446 - many dealers told me this exact number, and there is a Whsl financial Reserve line, I don't know what this number is, it's listed at $223 - and no one dealer is talking about this. This is an 08.

    Anyone know what this number refers to?

    Thanks for all your notes, it's been helpful.

  • You know i also called in for costco and the price was like 1400 above invoice
    for 2008 touring package #6, I was really disappointed I've been looking for something 800 above invoice considering the car doesn't get the tax incentive at this point and the carpool stickers are unavailable now, so i dun feel like the car has enough value in it anymore. If anyone can shoot me over some info I'd appreciate it pr0ject004 [at] gmail
    I went to one dealer today who agreed to everything i wanted then I got there and they did the bait and switch, they didn't have the car etc. I was kinda shocked they pulled that. I mean I thought worse comes to worse they woulda said they can't do that price but they tried the bait switch i was pissed off.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Did you call costco? Call them, they take your name, phone, Costco #, they call the dealer you want, the dealer calls you within 24 hours. The dealer then shows you the MSRP, the invoice price and the Costco price. The Costco price is $300 over invoice, but you can get the car at Invoice as there is a dealer holdback of $446. Does your dealer work with Costco? Ask. If so, it should happen just as I state above. I'm right at $24,000 with option 4. Will test drive once before and then make my final decision.

  • my costco guy gave me the price of 27122 for a touring with option 6 thats like 1400 over invoice. geographically which dealer are you getting?
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    I'm in San Jose, Ca - but what you state is different that my experience, the Costco person I spoke with could not give me a price as Costco does not know the invoice price, they negotiate only a number above invoice, so they could tell you it's "$300 over invoice" or something like this, but not an exact price - how would they know invoice price on all the different cars with minor options that change the exact invoice price.?

  • really thats interesting because I got that number from the dealer. I guess I will be calling the costco number and seeing what the difference is.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    I don't own one yet, but just about... went and drove other hybrids today.. and while others had better acceleration, better features, they did not get near the gas mileage and were not even close to $24,000 with option 4 similar features. Took the Prius out for 45 minutes, average was 50.9mpg.. and reasonable acceleration - I did not 'baby' it during the drive. I really like the Option 4 package, I have a portable GPS (Garmin) and like it, so option 5/6, while nice, increase the price by $1500-$2000 and I don't need it.. Not crazy about the seats not moving up and down and no telescoping wheel, but seemed fine for my 45 minute drive. The seats were also, surprisingly, pretty good.

    Hope to pick up mine tomorrow - will get the light green color - all other cars are white (that I own). Nice to get come color now.. perhaps blue if they can't get green.

    It's been fun reading about this car. Look forward to saving some money on gas!

  • I just purchased a Prius this past evening in San Diego, CA. It was the best car buying experience I have ever had. I ordered quotes through "Carbargains" online service and had two local dealers quote me 0$ over invoice. One could not find me the car I wanted, an opt2 in Spectra Mica Blue (a hard to find color). I was going to drive to Los Angeles in the morning to pick one up that I located, but my other 0$ over invoice quote dealer, Toyota of Escondido, just got one in so I quickly snapped it up.
    The sales guys I worked with were very professional and not at all pushy. They seemed more focused on giving me great service than on making a big profit off of me. Even their finance department just presented me with extras, but did not try to force anything on me. The whole time I was preparing myself for a bad experience and it never happened. I would highly recommend this dealer to anyone in San Diego.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Seems from reading many of these posts, perhaps the car dealers have figured out how to make us more comfortable purchasing cars (?). Here's my total 'experience'. Was set to get a Package 4.. but wanted Magnetic Gray after looking at all colors plus I have a Garmin portable GPS, so did not need a package 5 or 6. There were none to be found in the San Jose area - but some coming in soon. Package 4's were somewhat scarce, there was a black one and a few white ones, the 2 colors I did not want. I have 3 white cars now and was determined not to get another one! Black, for me, was out of the question. There are a ton of package 5's and 6's around. After working with the 'Costco' price, which is $300 over invoice, 2 dealers told me I could get a package 4 at a bit BELOW invoice.. $24,000 even (invoice price being 24,074). Thought this was good.. but I could not get a color I wanted. I told these 2 dealers that I would consider a package 5, but we need to split the cost between a package 4 and a package 5 if they wanted me to buy 'today'. The Nav system is $700 more at invoice price, so I'd tack on $350 to the $24,000 if they wanted to sell a car 'today'. To my surprise, these 2 dealers accepted this! Then, from reading these posts, I knew the extended warranty conversation was coming.. and I had printed out one post where the guy got the 6/75K mile additional warranty for $800 I think - read back in the posts to see exact number. I took the $800 and edited it to $750 - this is the $1400 package the dealer offers (when you buy your car), and there is a 7 year/75K mile one for $1500 - if you drive fewer miles per year. I had this printed out and with me when it was time to sign the papers. The finance guy, a nice young 'kid' (I'm 50, so everyone is young) just got a new iPhone, and we played with this for a while as we talked. I let him finish all his 'sales pitch' telling me he could give me the 6/75K for $1100 'today' as we both liked this phone. I then brought out the paper.. and told him I'd give him $750 for the 6/75. I really did not plan to buy the extended warranty so if he could not do it, no big deal to me. Went and talked to his manager, came back with $850.. 'nope'.. not going to do it. After more discussion, told him, here's what I'll do, right now, I'll give you $800 for the 7year, 75K mile plan - he wanted more money, I'll give him $50 more for another year of coverage. This was 1/2 way between the 6/75 at $1400 and the 7/75 at $1500 (1/2 of the $100 difference). Back to his manager.. "OK, we got a deal". So paid $800 for the 7/75 - which is really 4 additional years on top of the base 3 year/36K mile warranty. I was happy with this. OTD price was $27,241 with the 7/75K mile warranty. The sales person, new to the dealership, but not new to Toyota, was great.. no pressure.. and I was his 1st sale at this dealership in the Fremont, CA. I was also pleased that he took over an hour showing me all the new 'stuff' about the car. I'd highly recommend you take the time to review the car features with your salesman. I have a Garmin portable NAV system, so I knew something about GPS.. but the built in one is 'cool' too. Many voice activated features depending on how the display is set.. it's very cool to say 'increase tempetaure to 72 degrees' or 'next track' when playing an MP3. I'm now in the process of reading all the manuals and can't wait to get out in the car tomorrow and just 'play' around. I drove from Fremont to San Jose (my home) and got 48mpg, with several 5 minute driving stretches of over 50mpg. I ended up with Classic Silver Metal color with a nice 2-tone interior.

    Good luck with your purchases. Here's something interesting to me.. in the several times I have pulled up to a stop light, and been sitting there - with the motor stopped - I am very aware of the other cars using gas, just sitting there waiting for the light to change. Strange to me, never given this much thought. I bought the car for gas mileage, period. The fact that it's a pretty nice vehicle is an added bonus. I don't mind the seats, and thus far find them comfortable - even with the lack of adjustments. My days of driving fast are all but gone.. and honestly, I can't wait to pull up to a gas station, after driving some 500 miles before I do, and just smiling as I put in only 10 gallons and drive off with a fairly nice car, for another 500 miles!

  • bob104bob104 Posts: 94
    Excellent report. End of year, end of month, car sales are sluggish=good deals.

    But something doesn't add up . . .

    When I go to they list the invoice for an 08Prius#4 at $23,540 (includes destination charge of $660). NOT $24,074. REPEAT: NOT $24,074, BUT $23540--$534 less.

    08Prius#5 is $24,170. Adding $800 for warranty makes $24,970. Adding the same TTL you report of $2091= $ 27,061. But you paid $27,240. By these calculations you paid $179 over invoice, not at least $350 less as you state.
    Check my figures please. Whatever the case, if my figures jibe or not, I think we are well advised to research invoice price and go from there, not trusting the salespeoples' assertions that they are selling you a car "at invoice," or "below invoice."
    Still $179 over invoice is the best I've heard and certainly better than the $600 over that I paid in late Oct. for my 08Touring#6 at $30,000.00 including a 100k platinum warranty (everything but wear items covered). I hope you enjoy the car as much as I enjoy mine (when I'm not riding my power-assisted e-bike as my first choice for transportation.)
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    I did the same thing, and the numbers did not add up either.. but I think the invoice price shown on Edmunds is LESS dealer holdback ($446) and less something called Wholesale financial reserve, about $233.. I was told these are dealer profits but am not sure. Every car I looked at had the above numbers in the 'invoice price' that I saw. I agree, something does not totally add up, but go check and see what you come up with.

    I faxed my sales receipt to my sister in LA, and she went out today looking to buy. The first dealer told her 'no way', would not sell a Prius for that price. This made me feel good - I got a reasonable deal. The 2nd dealer she went to, told her $350 over my price, and she said 'no way' - and started to walk out. They stopped her and 1 hour later she drove out with the exact same car I got / color and all. They told her this was the best 'deal' they have given at that dealership. So, we are happy, but anything close to this will be good.. and if you get a better deal, good for you, feel even better about your purchase. We are now both trying to figure out how everything works!

    Hang in there, get the best deal you can, and remember the above numbers as dealer profit. I only have 55 miles on my car, but I plan to drive more soon.

    Good luck.

  • bob104bob104 Posts: 94
    From what I've read, you're right. Dealers make about 3%, about $700-800, when they sell a Prius at invoice. There are other concerns, like inventory reduction for tax purposes, too. From your experience, if I were buying now, in a buyers' market, I'd look up the invoice and make a deal for that price. Maybe better. As I said before, you might steal a Civic hybrid at this time, not only in price, but also in tax benefits (I don't know the ins and outs of this aspect). Civic: realworld 37mpg, Prius: realworld 44mpg. (Consumer Reports).

    The only remaining question what to pay for mats (or just ask for them for free). That, and the warranty. Yours was $800 for 7y/75k. Mine was roughly the same, about 11 cents/mile, $1150 for 6 years/100k miles. (I'll definitely use up the miles before the years).
    The trick here is to throw the salesman off by giving them erroneous figures when they ask you how much you drive per year. If you say you drive a lot they'll offer you something like a 7y/75k warranty, so say you drive a modest amount. Then they'll offer you what they offered me 6y/100k. And vice versa.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    I think these are all good inputs for those reading this forum. Hope these comments help you make a better deal. The dealers are making money for sure on this car, and all others too. The dealers are getting more 'professional' and they seem to be treating all of us with respect and don't seem to be pushy. I think this is a great statement for the car sales industry. This is of course only based on Toyota experience.

    Have fun shopping guys and gals!

  • bob104bob104 Posts: 94
    You're right about the Toyota buying experience, ditto for Santa Maria Toyota, CA. We think Toyota is so good a company that we bought stock (and I should be telling people to happily pay full retail price!).

    What has happened in this world that car salespeople are more cordial than flight attendants?
  • The hybrids may have a low residual because the batteries need replacing somewhere around 100k miles. This is one reason it is extremely difficult to justify a hybrid on pure economics. The lease numbers you see are a reflection of the accelerated depreciation that takes into account the much shorter expected lifespan of a hybrid before a major overhaul versus a conventional gas powered vehicle. If compared to a true diesel that should go 250k miles before a major overhaul, the numbers will look even worse.

    This disparity is not so apparent in purchase scenario since the residual value is the purchaser's problem and not part of the financing calculation. But the finance companies are well aware of this issue and cannot hide the low residual value in a lease quote.
  • ??? I have leased 4 Lexus vehicles in the past and compared to those leasing experiences, ALL of my dealings with Toyota have been a nightmare. I've never met so many sleazy salespeople. The numbers don't add up compared to those on Yahoo Car Buying or even the Toyota website.
  • A dealer told me that the steering on all of the Prius is something other than "power steering" but supposedly better than the power steering on older models of Prius. I think you might be getting caught up in a non-issue. You should drive the car and see if the steering is OK for you.

    That being said, it seems like it is nearly impossible to get an accurate MSRP or Invoice. The dealers are playing all sorts of games, at least here in the Los Angeles area, including adding additional options to the packages all in a successful attempt to confuse buyers. I have also learned from someone who works at Toyota (not as a salesperson) that some salespeople are pointing to documents and saying they are the "invoice" when in fact, they are not.

    This is been a horrible buying experience so far and I'm guessing it will be a lot worse before I have the car sitting in my garage.
  • 500e500e Posts: 13
    Who knows what the "buy rate" is for lease money offered to Toyota dealers for a Package 6 Prius? I have been offered .00265

    Does a residual of $15,332.00 make sense for 36 months/45,000 miles? Based on MSRP plus destination, that is 54%

    Someone here must have access to this information.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Actual invoice is close to what Edmunds indicates (I think), then the dealer adds $446 for Holdback and $223 for Wholesale reserve and this is the invoice we see WITH THESE PRICES ON IT. If you do not see these prices, ask them to break out the charges, and you will see this. Even if we buy at Invoice, they dealer is making $680+.. which is OK with me.. they need to pay their bills too. The TBA - the advertising fee we pay, was huge as I recall; some $400 also (but don't recall the exact figure from my invoice)

    I honestly can't believe some have a poor experience with Toyota (no, I don't work for Toyota and am not affiliated with them at all). Ok, sure, there will be dealers and SALES PEOPLE that are 'not professional', but I am pretty sure Toyota places high value on their people being professional and not pushy.. it's more of a consultive sell. All dealerships I went to before buying my Prius told me they wanted an 'excellent' rating when Toyota sends me the evaluation sheet on my buying experience. With this hanging over the dealers heads, and the sales peoples heads, I think they will all go out of their way to work with the buyers..

    just my .02 cents.

  • Just paid $21297 buy price, $23340 OTD for a base 08 Prius in Silver Pine Mica from Walnut Creek Toyota. This included rear bumper applique and mats, about $250 pure profit for the dealers. This makes it below invoice price for the car based on edmunds and yahoo price.

    I did not use I used a method used by another buyer in the Honda odyssey forum which basically emailing a bunch of dealers in the Bay Area, all 24 of them. Some don't reply, some will give a high price, some will ask you to call or come in, some will not give you all the info you asked, you ignored them.

    I only replied or negotiated with those who gave all the info I asked in the email. Three dealers came through, Palo Alto, Alameda and Walnut Creek. Palo alto did not have my color, Alameda was more difficult to get to, so I bought from Walnut Creek, a 40 minutes car ride for me.

    I was in and out of the dealer in 1 hour, the only thing they tried to sell was pre-paid maintenance. I made a low offer to get out of it.

    My overall experience was indifferent, they were neither excellent nor horrible. They just took the business calmly and quietly. I guess I cannot expect them to sell a car at pretty much bottom price and get excited it about it, especially when they cannot expect much more business from out of town customers.

    Of those who asked me to call or come in, 'sleaseball' comes to mind, I ignored them.

    Best wishes to all who are still trying to buy. If I can help anyone, just let me know.
  • I used CarBargains also. I am pleased at their good work & quick turn around time. If you don't enjoy this buying "experience", then they are a good alternative.

    The prices in Nashville are about $1,000 higher than the west coast. Supply for some reason is limited here. Dealers can sell all they have at about MSRP. The range of prices, for 8 dealers, was only about $550 between the low & high bids, the high being MSRP + $299 doc fee. For those complaining on the west coast, be glad for the prices you seem to be getting there.

    MSRP, package #2 = $23,759
    base: MSRP $22,325 Invoice 20,558
    mats: MSRP 199 Invoice 143
    Delivery 660
    advertising fee 391
    markup above invoice 1,000
    subtotal MSRP$23,759 Invoice 23,270

    prices paid:
    Package 2 + floor & cargo mats + delivery = $23,2700
    dealer fees, taxes, etc = $2,179
    total = $25,499 for a package 2

    dealer doc fee was $299.50 plus $99 for a worthless glass etching scheme plus $71 for a business tax.
  • Just took delivery of my '08 package 5 met. gray in St. Louis, MO. It was the epitome of the nasty car buying cliché. The salesman going back and forth to the manager several times while keeping my trade-in keys hostage. Finally after trying to obtain my keys and leave to head elsewhere, the bottom line got a little lower with a 25,500 purchase price plus 125 doc. fees. I did get a decent trade-in allowance. TT&L in MO are done at the DMV.

    I came to pick up the car a week later and solidify the financing and it was another battle. I signed and then while messing with the car in the parking lot before I left, I checked with another Toyota dealer regarding a lower financing rate with which he kindly obliged. With tier 1 credit and repeat buying, I expected to be given a good rate by the dealer; not so. They would only match the online rates via third-party financing. I walked back in and calmly but with fire in my eyes, demanded a better rate from TFS. The finance guy got on the phone with TFS (probably calling time and temperature as he wouldn't put it on speaker) and I finally got a .10 reduction to 6.25.

    You think you've finished negotiations at the sales table but then you realize they come at you from both the sales and financing angles. I figured the encore program would put me at 6.0(a supposed 1/4 point reduction on the best rates) on a 60 month which was mentioned during the sales process. In the end, a week later, there was no benefit really offered as the finance man claimed during his brief stop-off to the sales bargaining table a week before I took delivery. It really made me angry with all of the lying and telling me I had to use a third party finance to get a better rate than TFS. The whole process was mentally exhausting. I'll be waiting with baited breath for my swarovski crystal memorabilia you're supposed to receive with the encore program.

    So far, I do love the car. I do see lock-pick in my future. It's really, really annoying not to be able to use the screen functionality of the phone or nav. while in motion. You wind up spending much more time dialing from your contact list on your mobile device than looking at what is in front of you.

    According to Edmunds "what others are paying," I did ok. I know they have to make a profit to keep the lights on but to put you through that awful experience and then want high marks on a survey???? Someone please let me know if I'm being irrational.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Over the next many months, or longer, we will all read good stories about how 'I bought the car for $X' with some good and some bad buying experiences. I have had my keys held hostage too, a long time ago, and will NEVER let this happen again. Yes, these tacticts are still happening, but fewer and fewer times I think. We, as buyers, need to be ready to walk out of a dealership with the words, "I'll have to see what the Toyota dealer just down the road can do for me on price" - or similar. Once a dealership has determined you are a serious buyer, and are qualified, they DO NOT want you to leave the lot.

    At the end of the day, YOU control the sale, you decide if the deal is fair or not. If you are uncomfortable, LEAVE.. just get up and walk out. You don't have to buy anything you don't want. You for sure don't have to buy that day! Don't get in the mental mind-set that you have to buy a car THAT DAY.

    Be happy with your purchase even if someone else gets the exact same car for $x less.. it's OK.

    NSJ - why did you put up with this? I can't figure out why someone would buy a car and have it be such an awful experience. Say NO, and walk out next time.

  • acdiiacdii Posts: 753
    When I went in to get the Prius my trade stayed at home. I first got bottom line, then asked what they would give for my trade sight unseen. I knew what I could expect to sell the thing for and if they gave me close to what I could get on the street then its a deal, and they did. No holding keys hostage or negotiating between paper airplane contests, etc. They gave me my price out the door and then made sure the financing was at the lowest rate before signing anything. I think it is at 2.9% for 60 months that I got, it was the last day of that rate and the last car on the lot. I got it for sticker minus my trade and I feel I did good considering the difference between the fuel used in the prius compared to the truck and car we drove is at least if not more than what I pay for the car and insurance, I did really good. Now for my next adventure, we are looking to lease a 6-7 passenger vehicle for when we all need to go somewhere as a family, and since that isnt that often, a lease will work out quite well for us.
  • Congrats! So...can you provide a few details on what Prius u bought, what package, price breakdown? :confuse:
  • 08 Prius Touring Package #6 in SoCal

    Negotiated $27,122 before calling this a lease
    36 mon / 45,000mi / $1980 down (cap cost reduction)

    Residual: $15,332
    MF: I think was 0.00205
    GAP: $600

    Monthly: $454 incl tax

    I think the residual is set by the mfg and will only vary on the length of the lease and expected mileage. $15,332 was quoted by a few dealers I went to.

    Could I have gotten a better deal? The Touring package in my color was tough to find so I was a little hasty. But I'm pretty sure I could have leased a BMW 3-series for the same price. Oh well.. the price for being green.
  • This is something I thought I knew but now am not sure. If I buy a Prius in January do I get the full tax credit again? (assuming all the other tax rules are met). I thought that the regulation was something like the credit went to the first xx thousand cars sold each year. Now I'm starting to wonder. Anyone know? Thanks in advance.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    The US tax credit was for the first xx thousand cars sold period. There is no longer a tax credit for the Prius.
  • I just got an 08 Prius in 'magnetic gray metallic' - Package #2 - with cargo mat, first aid kit, rear bumper applique and mats for $22,500.00 in the Minneapolis area. I got a few quotes within $500.00 of that price throughout the Twin Cities area, but most well above that price.

    I am in LOVE with this car. I was VERY happy with the price and dealership.
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