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2004-2009 Toyota Prius Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Virtually no dealer will give you the KBB figure for a trade in "excellent" condition as defined by KBB. My cars are always pristine, and I've gotten used to being quoted the "good" number from Kelley, or something close. Your experience is just typical, not unusual.
  • Hey there!
    Thanks for the info. You're right - I need to get on it. Do you mind sharing the name of your dealer?

  • cruising7388cruising7388 Posts: 125
    #119 of 119 Re: Buy in Boston or San Francisco? [hybridturtleg] by cruising7388 Jul 27, 2006 (1:44 pm)

    Replying to: hybridturtleg (Jul 27, 2006 2:40 am)

    See the comparison below between the Federal Warranty
    details vs the warranty that is mandated for all states
    that have incoporated CARB (California Air Resources Board)
    criteria into their warranty standards.

    Note that Mass is a CARB state so you can get the same
    warranty advantages in this state as well as California.
    However, I'm under the impression that to qualify for the
    hybrid HOV lane stickers, the vehicle must be purchased in
    California. A call to California DMV can confirm that one
    way or the other or perhaps another forum member can chime
    in with the pertinent facts regarding this.

    Toyota has capped out their sales of hybrid vehicles under
    the Federal Hybrid guideline (60,000) so the tax credit
    will be cut in half for any vehicles purchased after
    September 30, 2006. So, if you wish to take advantage of
    the full credit, your purchase date must be prior to
    Sept 30. I believe that Toyota will be stopping production
    of the 2006 models pretty soon so you will need to find
    one that is in the distribution stream prior to October 1, 2006.

    However, there is another way to look at the financial picture. Buying a year end 2006 prior to Oct 1 will save
    you about $1575 in a tax credit but the depreciation on
    a model sold just before the new year model may equal or
    exceed that amount compared to the book value of a 2007 model. I don't know where the actual crossover point would be, but roughly, if you intend to keep the vehicle for just
    a couple of years prior to trading or selling, you would
    come out dollars ahead waiting for a 2007 model and accepting the tax credit hit. On the other hand, if your expectation is to keep the car 7 years you would probably be money ahead buying a depreciated 2006 model and getting the full tax credit.

    The California dealer we worked with was Thompsons Toyota in Placerville.

    Good luck!

    As taken from the 2004 Toyota Prius Owner's Warranty


    Information booklet (PN 00505-T2004-PRIUS) page 6, "Warranty Coverages at a Glance" there is a bar graph identifying the various warranties (from my 7/03 printing):

    New Vehicle Limited Warranty:

    Basic: 36 months / 36,000 miles
    Hybrid Vehicle System: 96 months / 100,000 miles
    Powertrain: 60 months / 60,000 miles
    Corrosion Perforation: 60 months / unlimited miles
    Restraint Systems: 60 months / 60,000 miles
    Emission Control Warranty:

    Federal, Performance: 24 months / 24,000 miles
    Federal, Performance Specific Components: 96 months / 80,000 miles
    Federal, Defect: 36 months / 36,000 miles
    Federal, Defect Specific Components: 96 months / 80,000 miles

    California (t), Performance: 180 months / 150,000 miles
    California (t), Defect: 180 months, 150,000 miles
    California (t), Hybrid Battery Pack: 120 months / 150,000 miles

    (t) = Also applies to Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont vehicles equipped with a California Certified Emission Control System. Vehicles covered by this warranty are also covered by the Federal Emission Control Warranty.
    For the 2005 model year, the following states are covered under the California Emissions warranty: CA, CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT.
  • I live in Orange County, south of Los Angeles. Purchased my 2006 Prius with pkg #3 last Saturday from Toyota of Garden Grove at MSRP of $23,141! It's an excellent price! Talk directly to Internet/Fleet Manager. Delivery is in a few days.

    Other Toyota Dealers that I contacted who are willing to sell at MSRP:
    *Power Toyota of Irvine, $23,141, pkg #1.
    *Toyota of Orange, $23,050, pkg #1.

    Don't forget the full tax credit ($3,150) deadline on Sept. 30, 2006,
  • I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but in view of the fact
    that hybrid sales have been so disproportionately skewed
    to the Prius, the total number of hybrid sales for all
    hybrids is not as high as expected. Consequently there
    is going to be an attempt to extend the full credit date.
    Chances for success are unknown.

    I suggest you apply for your HOV stickers IMMEDIATELY since
    there has been some rumbling to the effect of eliminating
    this perk for hybrids resulting from complaints by other
    motorists about discriminatory treatment etc etc. The
    stickers we just received contain a notice that DMV has the
    option of canceling this perk any time during the permit
    period which goes to Jan 1, 2008. Pretty strange, considering that we pay for the permit.
  • Try Toyota of Orange. Speak with the Internet/Fleet Manager. I was quoted $23,050 for option pkg #1 (additional air bags), 4 to 5 wk delivery. Price breakdown: $21,820 for the base model, $650 for pkg #1 (GY), and $580 for delivery, processing, & handling fee. Don't get pkg #1 if you want to bring the cost down. Toyota of Irvine and Toyota of Garden Grove sells the same configuration for $23,141. Good luck on your shopping.
  • This is a follow-up to my previous post. There was a mis-understanding on my part. They were trying to convince me to purchase the pkg #3 Prius parked in front of the showroom, but it's pricetag was beyond my budget. I got the Prius with pkg #1 on Tuesday, three days after I signed the sale contract.
  • Thank you for the suggestion cruising7388.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    I am in Southern CA, and dealers who contacted me (via Internet) all do not have a Prius (with #1, 3 or 4) around. And with tax credit expiring and CA car pool stickers running out (almost approaching the 75,000 limit according to today's LA Times), I think the demand in SoCal for Prius is going to be hot until after September, when tax credit should expire. So I am probably going to get a TCH ($ 25K) or HCH. I probably should have gotten on the Prius list 1-2 months ago.
  • The package distribution by Toyota varies from region to
    region and the distribution for California is skewed toward
    the high end. Our dealer in Placerville told us that the only packages they can get are 3,6,7 and 8. I don't know
    if Socal is considered by Toy as a different region.

    The squeeze for you is coming from a couple of directions:

    1. Unless there is a legislative amendment, the tax credit
    for the Prius will be cut in half on October 1.

    2. Toyota is gearing up for 2007 production and by the end of September dealer stock on the 2006 will probably be pretty thin if not nil.

    BTW, the 75,000 trigger for the HOV stickers doesn't necessarily cut off subsequent issuing of the stickers.
    At the 75,000 point, DMV is supposed to study the results
    from the stickers issued so far. That study might result in
    shutting down the program, but not necessarily. I hazard the guess that a substantial percentage of stickers issued are for vehicles that never use the HOV lanes at all.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I hazard the guess that a substantial percentage of stickers issued are for vehicles that never use the HOV lanes at all.

    Of all the Prius I have seen in San Diego area. Only one had the little sticker. I would think most have been issued in LA & SF areas.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Thanks cruising7388 for your comments. I think you are right, a lady I know who got a Prius recently had to get one with NAV, which means I may have to buy one loaded if I want one now. Interestingly she has the car pool sticker but elected not to put on (she thinks it's ugly and she doesn't use car pool lane enough). So your guess about people not using their stickers is right on. Lets hope I have some luck this weekend and find myself a stripped Prius (I like the look, the hatch and the mileage); otherwise, it looks like it may be TCH or HCH for me.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Toyota Motor Corp., the world's largest seller of gasoline-electric autos, raised the starting price of the Prius hybrid car 2.1 percent for the 2007 model and will add a new version to help boost sales.

    The increase is $450, to $22,175, the company's Torrance, California-based U.S. sales unit said in a statement today. The new Touring Edition begins at $23,070 and has larger wheels and a stiffer suspension. The 2007 models go on sale this month.

    Toyota's addition of new fuel-efficient hybrids since 2005, including versions of the Camry and Lexus GS sedans and Highlander and Lexus RX sport-utility vehicles, helped it raise U.S. sales 10 percent this year. Sales of the Prius have fallen 5.9 percent. The car remains the best-selling hybrid in the U.S., with 59,270 through July.

    The automaker has blamed the Prius decline on limited availability of the cars at dealers and tight supplies of nickel-metal-hydride batteries used in its hybrids.

    Prius Price going up
  • The $22,175 MSRP is largely illusory because in many marketing areas, the dealerships can't or won't take delivery on the more stripped down packages. The high
    end packages contribute more profit to the dealer for a
    car that is already the most profitable (for the dealer)
    in the entire Toyota line.

    Larger wheels? stiffer suspension? All of a sudden, the
    Prius is going to turn into a sports sedan? Gimme a break!

    The statistic indicating that 59,270 Prius were sold in July needs verification because if it is correct, the cutoff date for a full tax credit shold be January 1, 2007,
    not October 1, 2006. The formula described to me is that the credit is halved as of the first day following the succeeding quarter in which Toyota sells 65,000 of these
    vehicles. Perhaps the explanation is that the formula applies to all hybrid vehicles sold by Toyota, not just the Prius model.

    But how Prius sales could have fallen 5.9% this year totally mystifies me.
  • kienkien Posts: 5
    Actually the number is 60,000 of all hybrids sold by a manufacuter. Toyota reached this target during the second quarter.

    The full credit is good throuh the end of the quarter following the quarter that a manufacturer reached the 60,000 target. Thus the full credit for a Toyota hybrid ends on September 30 unless the law is extended.
  • kienkien Posts: 5
    FYI - Even though the MSRP for the 2007 base model has gone up by $450, it is comparatively cheaper than the MSRP for the 2006 base because the '06 package #1 (side air bags valued at $650 in '06) is now included in the 2007 base model.
  • Well, the stickers are sort of clumsily designed but visibility was probably the dominant criteria. The stickers look worse on some cars than others. White seems to be the best complementing color. Green is not so hot.

    One thing to note about these stickers is that they can
    not be removed without destroying them. I wonder how one
    replaces them if you are having a panel, or for that matter, the entire car repainted. Could take months to
    straighten that out with CAL DMV considering how long it
    takes to get the bloody thing in the first place.

    For those picky folks that can't stand the idea of permanently affixing these decals, there is an alternative.
    You put them on one of those Do-it-Yourself laminating sheets which is more easily removed. The down side, of course, is that they can also be removed by some thief.
    Probably best to stick "em on and live with it.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    I went hybrid shopping in west LA this past weekend. Drove Prius (waitlist), TCH (available immediately), then HCH (avialable immediately). Not too impressed with HCH because it feels just like a normal car with micro engine, no boost from the motor. TCH was truly impressive, rides like a steadier Camry (probably from + weight), and fast. But Prius still gave the most unique driving experience. Everything about the car is unlike any other cars (past or present). So it's the Prius #3 for me (full MSRP+TTL). Just one question. If I skip the NAV, do I miss a lot of functions and novelty factors of owning a Prius? I know this may seem like a dumb/trivia question, and portable GPS's are far cheaper. But I like to have these novelty things so I can keep my Prius ownership experience fresh and novel for many years to come. Suggestions?
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Go for the Gold. Always easier to sell a loaded car than a stripped one. Not enough difference and maybe you can get them to give a little on a loaded Prius. Email all So CA dealers. They are not all the same. May have one in stock ready to go at a decent price.
  • To get the NAV you have to up the ante to a #7 package.
    That adds the following to a #3:

    Vehicle Stability Control
    HID headlamps
    Upgraded Audio System
    DVD Navigator

    IMO, the VSC is a definite plus although I have been told that it sometimes confuses the drive train when trying to start ahead in snow. I've no personal experience in that regard.

    The HID lamps are nice to have if you plan to do much night driving.

    The upgraded audio is nice but hardly critical. The
    standard audio isn't too bad..

    The NAV feature is absolutely worthless until you need it at which point it becomes absolutely priceless. You need to spend some time learning how to use it. This Nav system is built by Denso and while it does the job, it is apparently not as slick as some of the other systems used. As you mentioned, there is the alternative of an outboarded system which has the advantage of portability. Lots of people like the Tom Tom as a mobile unit.

    To get the full federal tax credit, it's important to complete the purchase prior to September 30. In this connection, you have a Hobson's choice. Rushing the purchase will get you the full $3150 tax credit but you will be buying an end year 2006. Wait a month or so, and
    your credit drops to $1575, but you are stepping into a
    less depreciated 2007 model. But, there will be a 2% increase in MSRP on the 2007 model. The standard Prius
    for 2007 will be pretty much unchanged from the 2006 but
    they will be adding a touring model with bigger wheels.

    Also, for the LA area, the HOV stickers are very useful and there is some rumbling that after 75,000 HOV stickers are issued, Cal DMV will stop issuing them until they complete a study on the effect the program is having on the HOV lanes. Arrrgh, the ifs ands and buts can go on forever!

    Last thing - don't be hasty in making a decision regarding
    an extended warranty. California is a "CARB" state and the standard warranty you get for the expensive stuff that might break down is very impressive. You can make your decision about adding an extended warranty any time during the 3 year/36,000 mile warranty period.

    You can look forward to having a lot of fun with this car.
    It is, as you said, a whole new driving experience.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    However, (the big "however" ;) ), the 2007s will have side impact airbags, an option that costs around $800 on the 2006s. So if you wanted that, the 2007s are actually less money.

    I've read lately that side impact airbags and VSC are very much worth the money!

    VSC not for snow necessarily in CA but for the sudden rain on an oil soaked concrete highway at rush hour (been there, was scared!).

    The side impact airbags proof came from an E-room nurse who, after seeing the aftereffects wouldn't drive without them, and after watching the crash test video of the Prius, I agree!
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Thanks gagrice, cruising7388 and pathstar1 for your suggestions. I am getting the Prius now for (1) $3150 credit, (2) mileage and (3) HOV sticker (in order of priority), so I know I need to get it done by end of Sept. From your comments, looks like I am not missing out too much (novelty factors) by skipping NAV and JBL. I can put on a HID (I know some that are even better than factory), but VSC is something that I can't do-it-yourself. Oh darn it, I don't think any SoCal dealers order #4 or 5's? One more question, if I can find a #4/5 out of CA and is discounted from MSRP, should I go out of state to get it, or would I lose the CA-specific warranty? Thanks again.
  • jebdanjebdan Posts: 1
    I've been doing my research the past few weeks and agree with you, ck, the package 4 is definitely the "sweet spot." However, I've been hunting and can't find anyone selling one around here either (I live in MA)-- I've found a few pkg 3's and 7's, one 8 and one "bare bones." And even those are pretty scarce. My theory is either (a) Toyota figures those of us who want VSC will be willing to shell out for the other toys to get it or (b) the package 4's are sold so fast, they're gone before you ask. So now I debate... do I buy a package 7, or wait for a 4 for months and months... and miss out on the tax credit?
  • I would not worry too much about the VSC feature. Cars have done very well without this feature for decades. And the
    standard audio system is not too shabby. Faced with your
    time squeeze, I would beat 'em with a 2 x 4 for a better deal on a #6.

    Buying the car outside of California has two consequences:

    1. I'm pretty sure that only cars purchased in California
    qualify for HOV stickers, but a call to DMV can confirm that for you one way or the other.l

    2. If you buy out of California, unless it is a "CARB" state, you will lose the significant warranty period extensions that California requires for Toyota Hybrids.
  • You should be able to deal on a package 6 within the time constraints. I don't think they even deliver package 4s
    in the California region. The debate .... it's a Hobson's
    choice. You do have to buy pretty quickly for the full
    $3150 tax credit. But the flip side is that while waiting for a couple of months can cut your tax credit to $1575,
    you are buying a brand new undepreciated vehicle. If your
    intention is to keep the car for less than 5 years, buying
    a new model, rather than what will very shortly be a one
    year old model, may be worth as much and possibly more than
    the amount of tax credit lost. Also the opportunity to buy a less expensive package will result in additional savings
    although this will be slightly offset by a 2% increase in
    MSRP for the 2007 models. In your case, I think there is a persuasive argument for waiting. BTW, MA is a CARB state so you will get the benefit of the additional warranty protection provided by CARB.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Thanks everyone for your answer about buying outside of CA; looks like it's wise to buy here for warranty. Plus NV and AZ are not CARB. You guys are right, no #4 in CA; so I am sticking with #3. While I found 3 dealers at MSRP (waitlist, not immediate delivery), there are still many dealers selling at $2-5K more (waitlist too), and these guys are not that far apart. Do these dealers think buyers are lazy/stupid/ignorant? BTW, the dealers I checked are in west LA, South Bay and Van Nuys area. If anyone has suggestions about good LA dealers (for price and availability) let me know. I must admit waiting is making me think of buying a TCH instead of Prius. Only $ 1000 separates the two (TCH base vs. Prius #3) and Camry seems like more car for the money. I don't mind $ 500 less tax credit, and I don't even mind not having HOV stickers (since DMV is running out anyway). I only fear Camry's mileage, since it's suppose to be 38/40, but probably delivering 30-35 in real world. I don't need a hybrid for that kind of mileage. I do mainly city/urban highway driving. What you guys think?
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Do these dealers think buyers are lazy/stupid/ignorant?


    Most people do not take the time to research like Edmund's folks do. Good luck in your search. I would go for the TCH. The average owner is getting 37 MPG combined. That is the average of 97 people posting. Not bad for that size vehicle. If you haul a lot of stuff the Prius may be better.
  • These days, sales are divided into two separate departments in a dealership. There is the floor sales department which
    services the walk-in prospect and there is the internet division that works with email inquiries. I certainly can't extrapolate this to every dealership, but my impression is that the internet sales department assumes that the inquiring customer is relatively intelligent and consequently provides straightforward information and
    generally stick to MSRP or below. The internet group at the agency from which I bought my Prius (Placerville) was
    outstanding and everything was totally up front. They even
    sent me the dealer invoice for the car I was considering and what profit increment would be acceptable. We settled
    on a bottom line figure modestly below MSRP. They made out like a mink and still treated us fairly. So there are dealers out there that will treat you with respect rather than contempt and make a handsome profit on a sale without raking you over the coals. The trick, of course, is to find them and the only leads you generally get are word of mouth
    recommendations and the extremely useful observations you can read in the Edmunds Prius forums. All that being said, at this point in the production year, you gotta fish or cut bait and you don't have the luxury of delaying if you want to fully realize the full tax credit benefit and HOV privileges. The TCH gets a tax credit but does not qualify for the HOV stickers because it doesn't quite get the fuel milage necessary to qualify. For comparison purposes, the TCH does indeed get 37 MPG combines which is not too shabby, while the Prius mileage seems to be in the 47-50 MPG range. At 37 MPG, however, there are some attractive alternatives like the Corolla or the Honda Fit which can be purchased nicely equipped for a lot less money than a TCH or a Prius.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Cruising, you are right on the money. Many dealers I spoke to do divide their customers into retail and Internet, with different markups (example, Toyota of North Hollywood wants $ 5000+ for retail customers, and $ 2000+ for Internet customers). I still am amazed that in a competitive (for dealers) city like LA, dealers would try for a $5000+ when their neighboring dealers (like Toyota of Hollywood) charge MSRP. Your analysis (of choices that gets 37 mpg) is also right on, that was why I couldn't pull the trigger on TCH last weekend (I got a base TCH down to $ 24500+TTL). For that money I can get 2 Yaris, Corollas and any Kia's and get 37 mpg. I guess Prius is still the best choice if I care about the mileage and pricing. It's just taht $ 24500 is a darn good price for a TCH. Thanks again for all your (and gagrice) comments. I think I will stick with a Prius, and should be here around 8/20. Probably too late for HOV sticker but still in time for tax credit.
  • ilymptilympt Posts: 1
    I am in the same situation. Been looking at the Civic Hybrid and Prius for a while now. Although I like the Prius, the price in Canada is ridiculous. Fully loaded Prius in the US is about US$28000 (no leather) but is C$38000 in Canada. I priced it for Syracuse NY and Ontario. Civic sells at about the same price as in the US but the Prius is still selling like the exchange rate is 1.4.

    What is the process to import a US vehicle to Canada, is there e a link in the Gov of Canada website?

    Thanks for the help
This discussion has been closed.