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2004-2009 Toyota Prius Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Hvysnow1, thanks for feeling it for us in SoCal. I actually spend a lot of time in DC area (family there too), and aware of discounts. But I decided to buy in SoCal, for the extra CARB states warranty, and because added costs for driving back to CA (gas+hotl+food). Id on't mind driving 1 day for discount, but 3-4 days is a bit much. Hope you are enjoying your new Prius, as I am sure I will enjoy mine (when it gets here). While I am waiting I am thinking maybe I should splurge for Nav, ha, more money out of pocket.
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    I live over in West Marin, so all I hear ad naseum on the radio is: :Nobody, but NOOOOOOOOOOBODY beats Berkeley Toyota!!!!

    BTW, remember that the Prius is built pretty low to the ground so when you pull into a parking space with a header curb, stop short of it or you will hear an obnoxious scraping sound. It's not visible and it's not serious but it sounds ugly enough to want to avoid.
  • mjtianmjtian Posts: 48
    Hi, I am from the STL area and was wondering if anyone has any experiences with their purchase of the Prius here in STL? Any suggestions or horror stories? I purchased my current Camry from Lynch and have bought from Lou Fusz in the past. I have to admit, I love Toyota vehicles but am not a big fan of their dealerships. I am looking to dump my Camry for a pump friendly Prius in the near future. Any comments will be appreciated.
  • I have no info regarding Prius marketing in the St. Louis, but IMO, you have to do some math before making a purchase decision:

    1. I'll hazard the guess that the production of the 2006 Prius has come to an end and that they are tooling up for 2007 production. That means that 2006 availability will be limited to vehicles still in the market stream.

    2. The $3150 Federal Tax Credit will drop to $1575 on October 1, so to get the benefit of the full credit you would have to have this vehicle delivered to you by September 30. If that is not practically feasible, then you should wait for a 2007 model.

    3. Even if you can sneak in under the Sept 30 deadline, you will be buying a vehicle that for resale valuation purposes will be one year old within weeks after you buy it. Unless you operate the vehicle for more than five years, that loss of resale value is probably greater than the $1575 hit that you will take on the tax credit after October 1.

    4. Although the packages for the 2007 model will be a little different, the 2007 is essentially unchaged from the 2006 model so it isn't going to release a lot of pent up demand which could drive up dealer asking prices. MSRP for 2007 will be nudged up a little but this is offset by the inclusion of Vehicle Stability Control in all but one of the 2007 packages.

    What I would do is determine if the Prius package you want is immediately available off the floor from dealers in your area and if not what the wait period is. This will clarify where you stand with respect to the tax credit. Then I would determine the depreciation for a year old 2006 Prius and make the decision on that basis.

    Regarding dealerships, like any other business with branches, some are great, some good and some pretty bad.
    The best way to sort that out is by recommendations from friends, neighbors etc. But despite what you may hear, having your maintenance work done by an independent mechanic will not invalidate the warranty. Actually, there is very little maintenance required on the Prius - oil and filter changes plus routine inspections. For warranty repairs, of course, you will have to use a dealership. The standard warranty is 3/36 but the battery warranty is extended to ten years and the emission control warranty is also well extended.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Concerning when Toyota ends 2006 Prius production. I used to work for a JPNese company supplying machines to Toyota assembly plants in JPN/Worldwide, and typically everything is built by June. Besides some obvious reasons, many JPNese companeis do this because most companies now have a weeklong holiday in July, so they need to get last year's things done before letting people off. And July is typically when factories do shut downs for change-overs, cleaning, maintenance, etc..
  • That certainly consistent with the Donlen tabulation for the Prius which shows that the final order for the 2006 was supposed to be entered by 5/10/06. Orders for the 2007 are accepted on 6/12/06. Intial 2007 production starts in 08/06 and initial delivery is scheduled for 10/06. So interestingly, while consumers are snapping up 2006 models as fast as they trickle in through the distribution chain, the factory is already building 2007 models for distribution in October. Because the Prius is so unique, it has no direct competition, so their release schedule is relatively unaffected by the competition. Knowing that there is a real world customer out there to purchase every Prius you can build, must make for a comfortable nights sleep for the movers and shakers in the Toyota Prius building and marketing teams. It's such a disappointment that our domestic giants, Ford Chevvy and Chrysler have not had the same success. Why are we such slow learners?
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Since all Prius (for worldwide) come out of 1 factory (I think), the annual production runs probably ends even sooner than June. The factory I was more familiar with produces Corolla (only) and that runs longer (till June). In regards to easy life Prius team has, no team at Toyota has easy life (even no Toyota suppliers have easy life). But I admire Toyota for taking a leap of faith (and sunk lots of money) on hybrids back in the mid 90's, for the exact reason you (cruising7388) said, to get into something that has no direct competition. Japan's $6-8 a gallon probably helped solidify their resolve (to develop hybrids) too. Taking a leap of faith is tough to do for any Japanese because of risk aversion, but for Big3 there is simply no excuse (because Big3 constantly talk about "INNOVATIONS"). What sickens me more about Big3 is their responses to hybrids so far. First they bad mouth it. Now they talk about how flex fuel, E85 will make SUV's and trucks better than hybrids. Pretty soon, they will demand the feds to buy out their pensions. But they still won't have a viable technology/product. I guess Big3 knows that no US politicians want to be responsible for US auto demise, so they can "white"mail themselves out of this jam. Sorry to stretch this Prius discussion beyond its scope.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    I am tired of waiting for SoCal dealers to deliver a Prius before end of Sept. at MSRP. Also kind of apprehensive about missing the Sept. tax credit deadline. I think all 2006 Prius have been allocated, and not much more will come to SoCal this coming month. I am planning to shop around DC area, any suggestions on dealers and likely discounts (at end of the month)? Is VA/MD a CARB state? Who else is a CARB state? Thanks.
  • Sorry, I don't have any info regarding DC area dealers

    Have you tried other dealers in California, preferably in the outlying areas rather than urban areas? No, Maryland is not a CARB state but it is a good state to buy a Prius this late in the year. Fitzgerald Auto Mall in Gaithersburg is a high volume Toyota dealer and they get a large Prius allocation. Check out what is coming in on their website: BTW, the vehicle will require a California registration to qualify for the HOV sticker. That might, however, be academic because apparently the program is going to be put on hold before too much longer.

    CARB states are as follows:

    New Hampshire
    New Jersey
    New York
    Rhode Island
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Cruising, thanks for your prompt response. I am checking Longo Toyota (supposedly biggest Toyota dealer in the world), and they may have one in soon enough. Plus they seems to have firm allocation, not wishful alloation. I may also check other dealers more inland of LA, perhaps more chances, since western LA (where I live) is too rich and too image conscience (meaning lots of people on waiting list and paying MSRP+). I would bet Hollywood (and immediate vacinity) has a large Prius population. Perhaps I try NJ too, since I can bum free living from family. By the way, what is the extra CARB-related warranty? Is it a 15 year coverage on emission/batteries? Thanks again.
  • A dealer you might try is Thompsons Toyota in Placerville.
    Give them a call and get the contact for their internet sales and try that. They are more out in the sticks where it's truck and SUV country where the demand for hybrids is not as strong as it is on the coast and in urban areas.

    Re the warranties:

    The basic bumper to bumper warranty is 3yr/36000 except for wheel alignment and balancing which is covered for 1yr/20000.

    The powertrain is covered for 60 months or 60,000 miles whichever comes first.This includes the engine, transaxle and front-wheel drive system. Corrosion warranty is for 60 months, unlimited mileage.

    Where Federal and CARB protection departs is with the emission control systems and the batteries.

    The Federal emission defect is for 2 years/24,000 but the terms of the Toyota Basic Warranty bumps this up to 3 years/36000. The Engine control module , Catalytic Converter, the battery control module, the malfunction indicator light. battery and the hybrid control module is covered for 8 yrs/80000

    The CARB state program provides a 15 year 150,000 miles warranty for any emission defect which includes:

    Engine control computer module
    Throttle body
    Intake manifold and intake air surge tank
    Catalytic converter
    Exhaust front pipe
    Exhaust Manifold
    Fuel tank
    Battery Control computer
    Hybrid control computer
    Inverter with converter
    Coolant heat storage tank.

    The only item not covered in this warranty is the Hybrid battery which has a 10 yr/150,000 mile warranty.

    If there is anything above that needs clarification, you can talk to the California Air Resources Board at 800 242

    IMO, the CARB warranty is a definite plus. It makes substantial portions of the Toyota extended warranty (4-7 years) redundant.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Cruising, thanks so much for a very detailed explaination on what's covered regularly and in CARB states. It sure make a lot of sense to buy in CARB states, since everything on your list would cost thousands, and warranty is almost twice as long. I will check Placerville for sure. Thanks.
  • Hi all:

    I'm in North Central Indiana and am buying from a local Toyota dealer. The salesman is related to my best friend and I leased a Camry from him in the past. That helped me get a good deal on my trade-in, but I still don't have my Prius!

    To give him some credit, I want a certain color and a certain package and he is having to find me one. I could have had a silver Prius pretty much that week. For that kind of money, I'm getting what I want. :D

    So far, I'm fairly pleased with the price. Although, spending this much on a car is a new thing for me. I dont' have the paperwork on me, but I believe these numbers are pretty darn close. With tax it comes out to about $25,500, with package 4. The mats are included in that price. I believe the price on extending the bumper to bumper warranty was $885.00. Sounds like I got a fairly good deal on that.

    Just wanted to throw my 2 cents in. I'll post again once I actually get the car. I've done my research and I'm feeling pretty good about purchasing it. All the forums were a great help. Thanks to all who post!

  • I don't know what it is about libraries but they sure are great places to find attractive and bright chicks. In my college days, that was always the best place to find the crem de la crem.

    Re the extended warranty, there are some things you should keep in mind: There is no hurry to purchase an extended warranty - if you want one, you can purchase it any time during the basic three year warranty. Additionally, if you have purchased an extended warranty, you have 30 days in which to request a full refund.

    How well you have done on the extended warranty depends upon what warranty coverage is involved. The warranties available are:


    Any of the above can purchased with either a $50 deductible or a $0 deductible.

    Which warranty are you purchasing?
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Cruising you have such mastery of words. I checked Thompson/Placerville and no luck. No more 2006.

    With Labor Day coming I thought more Prius would be available in LA for sales. Found most dealers away from coastal LA have 1-2 Prius on the lot, but loaded with add-on's. No one has white, not sure it's because no one else like White, or White is first to go. Found a blue with leather added, dealer wants $ 1200 (started at $2000), I offered $ 500, no deal yet. I am with Librarychick, for this kind of money, I too want it my way. But I find myself weakening on colors, prices, etc.. I guess fighting over $500 for a car I am going to drive for 10+ years is kind of pointless.
  • I've been thinking about buying a Prius since December of 05. I finally bought July 4th weekend. I e-mail blitzed about a dozen dealers from Salinas to Sacramento to Santa Rosa (I live in the East Bay) Most of the bay area dealers wanted to sell at MSRP or above, and required a wait list/deposit. Tracy Toyota e-mailed me the next morning saying they had the car, and would hold it for me if I came to get it the same day. I told them I didn't have a lot of time, and they let me fax my insurance info and drivers license ahead of time so they could start on the paperwork. They also faxed me a quote with the price and VIN# on it, so I could confirm they had the car and the price. I told them I didn't want the extended warranty or prepaid maintenance contract, and they didn't pressure me at all. I think I was in and out of there in about 1 hour-1 1/2 hours. (It would have been less, but I wanted to test drive it, and I hadn't set up insurance under my own name (I was on my parents insurance) so that took a while to set up. Note: I paid cash, so it might take longer if you do financing.

    I paid approximately $250 under MSRP (or maybe not... when I compared to the Edmunds MSRP price,it wasn't $250 under because there wasn't an option for the floor mat/trunk mats which I got charged extra.) Anyhow... I paid approx $23,8xx + tax 8.25% + registration, came to $26K and some change out the door.

    Tracy Toyota was efficient, pleasant, and quick. They even rushed to get my registration to the DMV so I could get my Lic # more quickly to sign up for the carpool lane sticker. I got my plates in less than two weeks. Sorry, this is long, but I think this dealership gives a buyer a great buying experience.
  • I forgot to mention that the $250 discount under MSRP from Tracy Toyota was for the Costco program.
  • White is a funny color (or non-color). Most colors, people either like or hate. Nobody loves white but nobody hates it either so it turns out to be a good marketing color. Also the safety factor of high visibility adds to the marketing strength of white.

    You really have to consider at this point whether it wouldn't be more cost effective for you to wait for a 2007 model that would exactly suit you.

    But I think that your conviction that you will drive this beast for 10 years won't come true. If it was a standard design vehicle, that is certainly feasible. But in hybrid design, the evolution will be lightening fast by comparison. I hazard the guess that by 2008-2009 there will be a a fully electric Prius that uses the engine as a backup - just the reverse of the current technology. If you are driving your Prius for more than 4-5 years, I would be surprised.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Cruising, I hope to get White because (1) it doesn't fade and hides dirt well, (2) I am going to do some marketing logo on my Prius, so everything stands out on a White car, and (3) stays cooler in hot climate.

    I don't doubt the new Prius, whenever it does come out, will be even better. But for me I have driven my last few cars 13 (still have it), 12, and 7 years (sold it because $$$ Benz maintenance). And I got a teenage son who will be driving soon. So I expect the Prius to stay within the family for a long time to come. If I have urge to drive a new Prius I guess I will just need to have rich Prius friends like you. ;)

    With long term in mind, waiting for a 2007 does not make too much sense, since I lose 1/2 of the tax credit, and the 1 year newer depreciation probably won't make much difference 10 years from now.

    Gas in SoCal is dipping below $3 again! So perhaps Prius fever will be over soon. Until next spring/summer.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I'm not familiar with US tax law, or how Congress handles things like your tax credit. However, after reading these and other forums for the last few months, I'd be very wary of using the tax credit in your assessment of when to buy. I've heard lots of people reporting they will not benefit from it, others reporting it gave them $500.

    Bottom line, better talk to a tax accountant before acting on the assumption you will get to claim the full amount !
  • I agree about the color white and this indeed is what we bought. And if you do intend to drive the thing till it falls apart, depreciation is a non-issue. As far as gas prices dropping, fugeddaboutit if trade sanctions interrupt oil exports from Iran which is, would you believe, one of the primary exporters of crude in the world. If that scenario turns into a reality, crude will spike easily to $100+ and we'll be seeing gas selling for $4.25 per gallon
    when you can get it. I sure hope not.

    Regarding the teenage son, I can't think of a better car for him to begin his driving career since it will move him away from "How fast from 0 to 6t0" towards, "How far can I go on a quart of gas". You can tell the young Turk, "You come back showing less than 45MPG, you've just turned into a pedestrian!"
  • Pathstar - your point it taken.

    Although I'm certainly no tax expert, I do file my own return so I have some superficial familiarity with the tax code. 2005 and 2006 are very different years with respect to the tax relief afforded Prius purchasers. For 2005, there was a $2,000 tax deduction which did amount to an out of pocket savings of $500 for taxpayers in the 25% bracket. Those in a higher bracket got still more. In 2006, this was changed to a $3,150 tax credit which unlike a deduction is a dollar for dollar credit against your tax liability so the savings are much more powerful regardless of your tax bracket. But, as you indicate, there are a couple of caveats:

    1. There is no tax refund, per se, provided. For you to get the $3150 tax credit, you must owe at least $3150 in taxes.
    If you only owe $2500 in taxes, that is the cap on Prius credit. They don't give you any way of carrying over the unused portion of the credit ($650) into a subsequent tax year or carrying it back into a previous tax year.

    2. Since the refund comes back to you, you must also be the one who actually purchases the car. For example, if you want to give your teen age daughter a Prius, to get the credit, you have to buy the car. If you provide her the funds to buy the car, and she buys it, she, not you, will qualify, (or non-qualify) for the tax credit. So when you effect a transaction like this, you want to be sure that regardless of how the vehicle is registered, that the purchase order indicates that you are buying the car. There are some creative ways of dealing with this (joint ownership etc) and a tax advisor would be helpful in steering you in the right direction.

    3. If you are ensnared by the Alternative Minimum Tax for CY2006, this can indeed affect the value of the credit and you would do well to discuss this with a tax guru to determine if you can shape your CY2006 return to maximize the credit recovery.

    BTW, the most important tax "credit" you get driving one of these cars is the diminished Federal and State taxes you pay on the gas you consume. Depending on the vehicle the Prius replaced, the tax revenue being squeezed out of you drops anywhere from 35 - 80% ! In the micro, you are making out like a mink, but in the macro, it turns into a zero sum game because if EVERYBODY's tax bit dropped that much it would wreck havoc with the Federal revenue intake and you know darn well that the gummint would figure out some other inventive way of squeezing it back out of you. This bizarre consequence plays itself out in other venues also. For example, it's eloquently argued that if we eliminated alcohol and tobacco as staples for consumption, the decrease in the cost of the social mayhem and terrible diseases caused by these products would be enormous. But the flip side is that the government collects billions upon billions dollars in tax revenue on these products and one way or the other, we will all end up paying for the shortfall if these highly taxed products were no longer sold. It's all so weird, I'm gonna have to go for a quiet drive in my Prius, just to calm down..........
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Further to your "tax rant" ;) if we eliminated alcohol and tobacco a lot more people would be living well into retirement years - yet another drain on the tax dollar (at least here in Canada, not sure what your pension situation is federally).

    I went for another test drive today, this time in a 2005 "B" package Prius with 22,000 km+ on it. Took a good long test drive this time, as the car already had lots of km on it so I didn't feel guilty or obligated. Had fun watching all the things posted here and in PriusChat and Priusonline. "B" package, for those Americans too lazy to check, ;) is everything but nav. We appearantly don't get leather here in Canada. The car was way too expensive in my mind - they wanted $30,000 Can. New a package "B" car is $36,000 or so. So it now looks like I will end up with a 2007. Most of the dealers here are running out of 2006 units. Only saw three base models in the two dealers I visited today.

    I've now saved up enough money to buy, once I sell my RX-7. I'm getting anxious! ;)
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    I now wonder, are we Toyota's customers? Or are the dealers Toyota's customers?

    This happend to me this weekend. On Friday night, I was called by Puente Hills Toyota (35 miles from where I am) that they just received 3 #3's, I can get one at MSRP. I showed up 10 sharp, now the car has "wood" dash, and $2K more. I told the sales person, if I can peel it off, then they should peel the $2K off, if I can't, I gladly pay the $2K extra. She stopped me, and said, why don't you make an offer and see what "management" thinks. We set down, she wanted me to put personal info (name, address, jobs, etc) on a credit application. I said, look, why you need all these info just to see if managers take my MSRP offer. Even DMV does not require these info. She kept telling me it is their standard procedure, and how it helps them help customers. And I told her, I am paying the money, so they should respect my wishes. This went for 10 minutes. I kept asking her, why can't I just talk to a sales manager and see if he wants to take it or not. Finally, a guy came by, greeted himself, then said, "NO, we put this wood dash in, and we are going to get something for it. And if you are on wait list at other dealerships in SoCal, good luck because they too are going to take your car and loaded it up accessories to sell to retail customers." For sure I will never buy, or tell anyone to try Puente Hills. And I have no respect for anyone who bad-mouth their peers/competitors.

    I suspect many Toyota dealers are all doing this, bypassing their waitlist customers so they can load up $2-5K of junk on retail customers. This is why I am wondering, who does Toyota really care about, us the endusers, or the dealers?

    I made a call to a leasing company and they can get me a black/blue Prius at $100 discount, and perhaps a white one in 2 weeks.

    I think I am going to wait until a middle of the week to check again to see if prices get lower. Then if not, buy from the leasing company.

    It amazes me how dealers are treating customers and potential customers. But since they are still doing it, it must still be working. So it saddens me, how in the age of Internet and books, people still do not arm themselves with information and strategies on such big $$$ purchase. $ 2K save is $50/month on car payments!!!!

    Why must dealers make potential customers make "offers" first? Shouldn't they be the one working their numbers down, until customers are satisfied? Instead, I feel like I am throwing numbers, and they are the ones deciding if they are satisfied?

    And why do dealers want my personal info just to make an offer? Are they hoping to drag the process so long that I make stupid decisions?

    I really like Toyota's but sure hate the buying experience. Must admit the only ones that did it right was Saturn (10 years ago now). But GM seems to have screwed that up too.
  • I think that not only is leather horrendously overpriced, it is poor choice for seat covers. But some folks will not have anything else.

    Is Canada offering any incentive on the Prius similar to the U.S. tax credit etc.?
  • The phony decal wood dash is a new one on me. The credit application routine is just a shuck and jive act, particularly if you are paying cash or financing the vehicle elsewhere. You should refuse it because too many inquiries of this sort starts to ding your FICA score.

    Will the leasing company sell you a Prius or will you have to lease it from them?

    Anybody in these times who gets abused by an automobile dealer flat out deserves. Considering how much attention the media has paid to dubious car selling techniques and the wealth of information available on forums like this one, I can't muster much sympathy for someone bleeding buyer remorse all over the place. This is not rocket science and good information is widely available. As I mentioned before, it comes down to the three kinds of people that inhabit this planet: the ones that make it happen; the ones that watch it happen and the ones that belatedly moan "What happened?" The "What happened" group ends up being speared like fish in a barrel. It's a commercial illustration of the survival of the fittest.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I don't think the Canadian Federal govt. offers anything. I hear the BC and Ont. provicial govts. offer something. I'm in Alberta, so the car must stand on its' own price.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Cruising, the leasing companies (I checked with 2) will both sell or lease, whichever I prefer. This is how they work: they check with local dealer inventories, buy the car I want (at fleet price), then resell/lease to me with some markup. I will go with purchase for tax credit. Anyhow, my cousin just leased to buy a Range Rover Sport SuperCharge (3 year lease with option for 2nd 3 year which buys the car outright) from one of the leasing companies, because it was $3K cheaper than any SoCal Land Rover dealers. He said it was such a pleasure, because he just told them what he wanted, his price, arrange the finances, then the car was flatbed to his home. He just had to sign and pay the down and 1st month payment. All done. No more 2+ hours at dealership haggling over prices, then get worked over by "Biz" managers. This is why I am thinking of going this route, I just don't want to see more salesman/biz managers.

    Interestingly this leasing company (in SoCal) is taking orders for 2007 Prius. The touring package does look tempting, but probably won't arrive before Sept.

    My fear with filling out credit application is ID theft. But you made a great point about affecting my credit score.
  • Yes, I would imagine that a leasing company has an inside track in securing automobiles since he company has the potential for providing a lot of repeat business for the auto dealership.

    Be sure that purchasing the car from a leasing agency, as opposed to an OEM dealer doesn't adversely affect the qualification for a tax credit. I wouldn't accept the leasor's representation regarding this since they might very well not know or care, or both. A Google search with "Prius Tax Credit" brings back a wealth of information and sources for determining this. And, of course, remember that if you get nailed with the AMT for CY2006, your tax credit is butchered. It's a jungle out there!
  • Cruising7388,

    Thanks for the compliment! :blush:
    Thanks also for the info about being able to wait until just before the 3 year warranty being up to purchase the extended warranty.

    I'm not sure which warranty package, but I believe it was an additional 3 years. so, I guess it is the first one.
    3/50,000 I know it gave me 6 years of coverage for all but normal wear and tear stuff like brakes, window wipers etc. I'll have to dig up my paperwork.

    I did get a call back from my sales person indicating that there were a couple of people "ahead of me". Makes me wonder. If all the 2006 are already produced, how can there be a waiting list for color and package? Do you have any ideas on that?

This discussion has been closed.