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2004-2009 Toyota Prius Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • If the choice was mine, I would wait until the 3/36000 warranty was ready to run out before I made a decision regarding an extended warranty. Remember, that the extended warranty piggybacks the basic warranty, so for example, a 7 year "extended" warranty is for all practical purposes a four warranty because the first three years are covered already by the basic warranty. Particularly since you haven't yet taken title to the car, you can cancel the extended warranty at any time before the date of purchase.
    Once the warranty goes into effect, you have a 30 day window in which to cancel the warranty for a full refund. After that, any refund is on a pro rata basis.

    With respect to the waiting list, even though Toyota is already building 2007 models at the factory, they still
    keep a supply of 2006 vehicles that they meter into the distribution channel to minimize the dry period when you can no longer get this years model but it's still to early to get next years model. No manufacturer likes this window to be of significant duration because it invites a prospective customer to consider another brand. Thr reason that the waiting list situation is a little murky is that the dealers don't necessarily know what cars they will be getting until fairly shortly before delivery. Sometimes, they will get cars in without any notice whatsoever. There is also another factor that is transparent to the customer -dealer to dealer accomodation. While on one level, dealers are in vigorous competition with each other, on another level, dealers often help each other out by exchanging inventory to help another dealer complete a sale. The factory encourages but doesn't require this level of cooperation. So the car you get may have originally be assigned to another dealer.

    But not to worry. You'll probably get exactly or close to what you want. Get ready for a whole new life style, cause the only thing foxier than a library chick is a library chick driving a Prius!
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    While waiting for my Prius it seems most remaining 2006 streaming into dealers are metallic gray. They kept telling me it's the most popular color, but I hardly see them in SoCal. And when I got my Previa 13 years ago just about every one is a dark red. And that dark red is such a bad color (for fade, scorch, nicks), it's giving me chills about any Toyota red's. So I wonder, did Toyota get a fire-sale discount on gray paint? And will this gray go the distance (15 years looking new)?
  • Grey isn't a widely popular in Northern California either. I think the least popular color is black. I think current paint technology has gone a long way to overcoming the fade problems of red.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Crusing, thanks for your opinion. Toyota red really has no place to go but up. I did find 2 white Prius #3 (due 9/15) but dealer wants $3K+. So grey is looking better. Or perhaps I will learn to like the ocean blue too.

    So what are the popular colors in NoCal?
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    I went to Frontier Toyota (north of LA) and found a White #3 at MSRP, coming in mid Sept, with VIN. It turned out they do sell more Prius then anyone in nation because they handle the LA county/city account, which gets few hundred Prius for meter maids/DOT workers/etc.. So they got 14 allocated today, and I was the 10th. I think they have a few more #3, 7 and 8 at MSRP. Anyhow, glad the wait is almost over.
  • Just be sure your paperwork shows that you purchased the vehicle prior to October 1 to protect the full tax credit.
    Also, get the HOV application on file ASAP.
  • Actually, there's nothing wrong with Earl Scheib paint, per se. The secret to a long lasting paint job depends more on the surface preparation for the paint than the paint itself. Consequently the quality of the paint work from aftermarket painters varies widely depending upon the skill and integrity of the particular shop. If the surface isn't completely stripped of wax or silicone polish and lightly sanded for adhesion, the best paint on earth will fail.

    As a culture, we're all really a bunch of idiots. Every culture has its essential mediums for expressing personal color preferences but using the automobile as a venue for expressing it, is just bizarre. We (or the OEM) spend thousands of dollars for painting a car to make it look pretty on the outside, KNOWING that it will be doomed by rain, snow, smog, road salt, sun, rust, bird droppings, fender benders and vandals. Then we proceed to climb inside the car where we can't see the paint. All we can see inside is the car interior, which is dull beige, duller grey or deathly black. The only color we get to see are the paint colors OTHER people have chosen for their cars. Surely there has to be a more benign environment for expressing our color choices than having it defaced by the concerted cruel assaults of nature and man. If we had a scintilla of common sense, we would demand every car be totally galvanized, including the brake pedals! So why do we do this? There can only be one reason: Somewhere deeply recessed in our DNA there is the vestigial element of the birds from which we evolved. Our cars represent our awkward attempt to fly, the horn dimly replicates the chirp and the colors we bathe them in represent our pitiful efforts to regain some plumage. It's time we faced up to the fact that wasting money painting a car is ....just for the birds.

    Popular colors for Northern Cal? The dominant colors in no particular order seem to be blue, green and gold with white, silver and red trailing behind and black at the bottom of the list. I think that in the warmer climate areas of the country that the incidence of white would be substantially higher.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    So you think the Delorian ugly gray stainless finish is cool? ;)

    Oh, and you can see the hood (and the sides in the mirrors, unless you don't use those ;) ).
  • No, I wasn't turned on by his stainless surface aesthetically. It leaves smudges and fingerprints. But I was turned on by the thought that I would never have to worry about fading, scratches, corrosion or some spittle drooling moron keying the side of the car because he couldn't afford one.

    Well, OK, I'm willing to compromise. Paint the hood and the sides but galvanize all the rest. Actually, I think the bodywork of cars in the future will pretty much be a recyclable composite material. And now that you've got me started, no car should have a body panel more than 12" x 12". On half the cars made today, if you have to replace a front fender, the first part of the procedure is: "Remove rear tail light......." And that's only half of it - the tail light you remove to start the repair is on the opposite side of the damage.
  • I was just told by a Toyota salesman that he could obtain the VIN for a 2007 Prius and begin the sales paperwork by Sept 20th which he said is all we need to qualify for the max tax credit. First of all, I have read that you have to take physical possession of the car, not just have one on order. Second, I have not seen anything that tells me that a 2007 Prius is going to qualify for the credit. Does anyone have any verifiable last minute information that might confirm or refute what I am being told? The site does not list the 2007 Prius as eligible for the tax break.

    Not being born yesterday, I have learned that a car salesman is capable of saying anything to sell a car. I am confident that if what he said turned out not to be true, when tax time came around he would not remember making any such statements.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    The information I've read is the same as you state. You have to receive the car before the date. So far, from reports on other forums, the IRS has not received the paperwork to qualify the 2007 - it may be "in work" however. It was claimed to be just a form Toyota needed to fill out and forward to your IRS.
  • It seems the year of the car is irrelevant - IRS states "Toyota hybrid sales" and as of May 2006, they've exceeded 60,000 units.

    You can claim the full credit for a "car that has been put into service by the consumer" by September 30th.

    After that, the credit will be reduced by half = $1575.

    See the Toyota web site under Prius - it's all pretty much spelled out there...


    Toyota/Lexus Hybrid sales exceed the 60,000 threshold.

    Toyota/Lexus hybrid sales from January 1, 2006 through May 31, 2006 totaled 68,637. As TMS reached the 60,000 cumulative hybrid sales threshold during the 2nd Quarter 2006, credits will therefore be reduced by one-half beginning with vehicles put into service by consumers after September 30, 2006. Please see calendar below for the TMS hybrid tax credit phase out schedule. (this is a graphic)

  • You are smart to avoid relying on verbal assurances from anyone in financial matters. If it isn't in writing, for all practical purposes, it isn't real. Ask the saleman for the source for his assertion. The answer to your question is complicated. For starters, the model year of the vehicle is a non-issue. Both the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Lexus RX 400h hybrid are 2007 models and are qualified for hybrid tax credits. At the moment, a 2007 model Prius might not qualify but that is only because the IRS certification is done for each year of production. It will undoubtedly be forthcoming prior to your filing of a CY2006 tax return.

    So for you, the issue devolves to what the proper definition of "purchase" is. Does "purchase" require only a contract commitment, or does it also require the physical delivery of the vehicle? In IRS IR2006-26, the IRS in providing details regarding the tax credit states: "The tax credit for hybrid vehicles applies to vehicles purchased on or after January 1, 2006....." There is no information contained in the release as to whether a physical delivery is required.

    On the other hand, summary I found on Google regarding this issue states as follows regarding qualifying for the 2006 tax credit:

    3. "The purchaser must accept delivery of the Hybrid vehicle from the dealer on or after January 1, 2006...."

    5. The purchaser must retain appropriate documentation showing the purchase of the vehicle and the date of the delivery of the vehicle.

    The above statements would seem to indicate that physical delivery is an essential component of "purchase".

    What you should determine is whether your paperwork is completed on Sept 20, or whether there will be additional documentation involved when the vehicle physically arrives.
    Since a VIN has been assigned, if you can actually start the registration process now, that might be sufficient documentation to meet the IRS criteria.

    IMO, it's worth taking the shot. In the worst case you lose $1575 of the tax credit, but remember that at this late date, the day after you purchase a 2006, it has depreciated at least this much more than the depreciation you incur the day after you purchase the 2007.
  • Thank you all for your responses. It's hard to say what's right here, but common sense tells me that the 2007 is the best buy. I agree that it is hard to imagine that the 2007 Prius won't qualify for the tax credit.

    This is a great forum with a lot of good discussions. I have learned a lot here and am certainly excited owning my own Prius in the near future with or without the full tax credit.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    I am curious what CA's DMV fees are for a new car. Buying Prius at MSRP is pretty hard to take, giving dealers additional profit in name of DMV fees would be even harder to swollow. Please advice. May be able to get a Prius this weekend.

    I do like how 2007 options are packaged, and like the touring package. Just wondering which package would be sold in CA?
  • Here is a tabulation for a California purchase of Package 6:

    Cash Price 27768.00

    Document Prep 45.00

    Smog Fee -0-

    Sales Tax 2155.21 (Doc Fee is taxable!)

    License & Reg 231.00

    CA Tire Fee 8.75

    California sales tax is a little higher than the national average. It isn't uniform throughout the state. The basic rate is 7 1/4% but different counties piggyback sales tax increments on the basic rate. The sales tax percentage you will incur does not depend on where the vehicle is purchased. It's determined by the county and city in which it is registered. The registration fees which used to be horrendous were reduced when Governor Schwarznegger delivered on an election campaign promise to rescind the hiked registration fees implemented by Grey Davis.

    The California Board of Equalization does have a policy regarding trade in values that is infuriating. For example, in the case of the above tabulation, a vehicle was traded in at the value of $7800.00. In some states, this amount is subtracted from the sales price of the new vehicle, reducing the amount of sales tax levied. In this case, it represents a tax increment of $604.50 which would not be paid in a state that permits the new vehicle sales price to be offset by any trade in value. There is no practical way of avoiding this without going through the convoluted process of having the car delivered to an adjacent state and developing a record of operating the vehicle for one year or more outside the state. Of course, the vehicle will have to be registered in some state for that period and the state of choice for this region is Oregon which has a uniquely low vehicle registration fee. Oregon used to be pretty lax with respect to this process but as of late they have started to require some proof of residence in the state. In any event, because it involves a lot of work and hassle, it really isn't cost effective for the sales tax incurred with a Prius. Now if we were talking about a 300,000.00 luxury motor home, the equation would be somewhat different.

    There isn't an awful lot of difference between the 2006 and 2007 packages. The base MSRP is fractionally cheaper than 2006, but for 2007, the VSC option is now a required option in every package but No. 1. Also I think for 2007, the Sirius/XM radio function has been included. Other than larger wheels, I don't recall the additional features the touring model offers. I'm not sure that the bigger wheels really accomplishes much particularly if it results in a tire size that is significantly more expensive to renew.

    Which packages will be sold in California? I sure wish I had a rabbi somewhere high up in the Toyota food chain that could provide a heads up in this regard. I think it's safe to assume that the touring model(s) will be offered in CA, but I'm not sure that for marketing purposes, CA is just one market. It may break down into sub-markets with a different distribution profile for each one. Frankly, I think it sucks that a customer can't purchase any package of their choice from any dealer in the country, but the demand for this class of vehicle is so powerful that they can call the shots even though it looks wrong from our end. I'm reminded of an exchange I had almost a half century ago with the owner of a business for which I was a purchasing agent. I was cogently explaining why a particular purchasing policy he implemented was costing us money, and he replied: "Son, last year I made over a million dollars and now you're telling me I did it the wrong way...." And that was the end of that conversation.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Cruising, once again thanks for quick response. I know about CA's high sales tax, just did not know what was other DMV fees, every state does it differently.

    While it's probably too late to get a HOV sticker, what is the procedure of getting one? Do I ask the dealer to file it? Or do I file it? Before getting the plate? Or after getting the plate?

    2007's options seem better packaged because CA only gets package 1, 3, 7 and 8. And I think 16" tires may give better handling (but probably at the expense of mileage due to additional friction/weight). But what I really want is factory Sirius/XM. I know it's cheaper after-market, but nothing beats a well integrated system, and the good deals offered with factory systems (I pay $7/month for XM in my Honda Pilot).
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    I was just informed today by a SoCal Toyota dealer that they will get a 2007 Prius #2 in before end of Sept (3-10 days from now). Price out to be almost same as a 2006 #3 but with the extra VSC. Very tempted. So I went on Tooyota's website, did a "Build Your Prius", put in my SoCal zip, and was told in CA that standard Prius comes only in pkg 1, 2, 5 or 6, and touring comes only with pkg 5 (I think). Just for curiosity I inputed a DC (and then NJ) zip, and was able to get touring Prius with a low end package. Looks like Toyota really wants to milk their largest market (CA) for every option dollar it can get. Guess the touring just isn't for me, but I guess Toyota must think there will stil be plenty of Californians with the extra $6K.
  • I had read some good reviews about Kearny Mesa dealership in SoCal and therefore decided to get my Prius from there even though I live in Orange County. Well, not a good experience. After a few weeks they called me one day on Friday monring at about 9am saying that my car had arrived and I had 24hrs. Now I'm a physician so to took me a lot of effort to re-schedule my hosptial rounds, out patients and even had to cancel a voluntary lecture I had planned for some senior citizens in an hospital in Anaheim. But when I was half way there to the dealership in San Deigo, about 7hrs later, they called me say that they had made a mistake. It wasn't my car after all! They realized that after 7hours...after I had spoken to the dealer three times on that day after their first call. Personally I think they just gave it to somebody else with total disregard to my time and effort. Wouldn't recommend buying a car from Kearny Mesa toyota. :mad:
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Sorry to hear your experience; and lack of some "make-up" gestures from Kearny Mesa. I too had some bad experience in Puente Hills Toyota, and heard awful stories about Carson's Toyota too. While I was a Power Toyota this morning, getting my name on a 2007 #2 (scheduled to be in before Sept. 30), I saw at least 5 families getting "handled" by a slew of salesman, sales managers, business managers over payments, leases, and more payments again. Truly shocking to see how unprepared these folks were about such big decision, and how dealers just lead them to the slaughter house. It's the same every dealer I have gone to in search of my new Prius (6 total). Anyhow, since you are in SoCal, this FYI maybe helpful to you. Power Toyota has 3 incoming 2007 Silver #2, MSRP, in port and scheduled for dealer lot anytime after the 19th. I was the 2nd with deposit, one more left (as of noon today). I would think a 2007 is going to work out better for you than a 2006, if you are cool with the color and options. Good luck.
  • We're thinking of buying a Prius Touring with package #5 (DVD Nav) in the Chicago area. After reading posts on the Internet, there are a lot of people who purchased their Prius under or at MSRP but in different parts of the country. shows a ridiculously $3000+ above MSRP for this area. What gives?

    If anyone has experience with purchasing Priuses in the Chicago area (as I've seen several on the street) please share. It most certainly would help first-time hybrid buyers like us.

    Also, what is the deal with the taxes? Would it be good for '07 for the same $3150 amount as in '06 (for the first 60k cars sold)?

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Also, what is the deal with the taxes? Would it be good for '07 for the same $3150 amount as in '06 (for the first 60k cars sold)?"

    You have 12 days to take deliver of a Prius to get the full tax credit. After that it is 1/2 of the full amount for 3 months, then 1/4 of the amount for another 6 months. Thereafter, nada, zip, zilch.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Virgil, will you be able to get 2007 before Sept. 30th in Chicago area? If yes, and it's a touring, then it must be one of the first touring Prius in the country. So please share. If not, good luck getting one.
  • Hi, Steve

    You mean that more than 60k Priuses for '07 are already pre-ordered? What is the deal with 12 days? AFAIK, the wait time from ordering to delivery is measured in months, not days.

    Finally, how is the deal with the taxes? I read that you are eligible for the tax deduction only if you owe money on the taxes, but not if the gov't owes you. Is this true?

    Can you please clarify these?

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "You mean that more than 60k Priuses for '07 are already pre-ordered? What is the deal with 12 days? AFAIK, the wait time from ordering to delivery is measured in months, not days.

    Finally, how is the deal with the taxes? I read that you are eligible for the tax deduction only if you owe money on the taxes, but not if the gov't owes you. Is this true?"

    The "12 days" was the time until Oct 1. There is no limit on the number of hybrids that can get the full tax credit, so long as they take delivery of the vehicle by 30 Sep 2006. So unless you can find one and take delivery in the next "11 days", you will only get 1/2 of the tax credit.

    You have to owe taxes to get a tax credit. It is not money back; it is a reduction of the amount of taxes you have to pay.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149

    There may be more authoratative experts on this forum than me, but I believe the tax deduction you were thinking applies for pre-Jan 1, 2006 hybrid purchases, which lets buyers deduct a variable amount off their taxable income when filing for income tax. For Jan. 1, 2006 or after, you get a straight $ 3150 tax credit on a Toyota Prius (less for other models and for Honda's). That is $ 3150 less on your federal income tax. So if you owe more taxes, you pay $ 3150 less, and if you are getting some (refunds) back, add $ 3150 to your uncle Sam tax refund check. Sure makes the Prius costs more tolerable doesn't it?

    But this tax credit does not apply to tax filers who also AMT taxes, which applies for a lot of folks who owns businesses and/or rental properties. Only your accountants and your conscience can determine that.

    The 12 days mentioned here is perhaps in reference to when the $ 3150 gets reduced to half ($1575). So if you get your Prius before Sept. 30, you get the $ 3150 tax credit. Between Oct and Dec, $ 1575, and the quarter after that, half of $ 1575, then nil.

    If you don't get one by Sept. 30, I think it would be better to wait until Nov-Dec to get a 2007. You will get a newer car, a Touring model (as you said in your earlier posting), and perhaps a good discount off the MSRP. I think with gas prices coming down so quickly (for how long is another ??), and no $ 3150 tax credit, there will be Prius disconts finally. I also suspect people to buy Honda Civic Hybrids too, which will still have $ 2600 (I think) tax credit for some time to come.

    As for me, I hope my 2007 will arrive before Sept 30. If not, I will follow my own suggestion and wait until Nov-Dec.

    News in LA Times has mentioned Midwest gas prices dropping the fastest in the nation. So perhaps you won't even have to wait for long for Prius discount.

    Good luck. CK
  • For California Prius customers, it appeared that DMV was going to stop issuing any more HOV stickers but the Governor
    has just authorized issuing 10,000 more so that should cover purchases over the next few months.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Cruising thank you so much for the great news (CA HOV). Looks like Prius price (in CA) won't tank so quickly in the next few months after all.
  • Thanks for the tip. I did call Power Toyota yesterday and am on their wait list. But I'm going to try again tomorrow.
  • ck90211ck90211 Posts: 149
    Wood2318, any physicians who give free lectures at senior centers deserve all the praises and headsup in the world. Glad you too got your dibs on an '07 at Powers. Lets just hope they don't let us down by Sept. 30. CK
This discussion has been closed.