I'm in NJ and that probably explains it ...lol. It seems that, in NJ, everything seems to upset some people. Plus I'm at the shore which has seen a bad year between tourism and the housing bust..many people seem to be on the edge here, both emotionally and financially.
I do understand that if the commute isn't large, that you don't save a whole lot of gas with the Prius vs a different car, but I see the savings as not only in gas, but also in emissions.
I think the reason why the Yaris is selling is because it is only 11K base price. People are getting sick of having to basically take out a second mortgage to buy a car. Amazingly you can even lease new Mercedes and H3s in my area starting at $299 per month. And we see more older cars on the road here than we used to...people are holding onto their cars longer.
I also was going to trade the Prius in for a Yaris..I think the reason wny the dealership tried to talk me out of it is becaus the 2003 Prius for the Yairs woud have been an even trade. I have found that the dealers I work with seem to like to steer you away from a Yaris...they always suggest Scions instead (of course they cost 4K more base). Probably a profit motive thing. I think the Yaris is a cute car...and better looking than my 2007 Prius..though I think you get a lot of car with both Prius and Yaris for the money.
I think that if gas goes back up to $3.00 a gallon again you'll see Priuses fly off of the lots..with a 3 to 5K premium above sticker..which makes no sense to me (you wouldn't save enough in gas to make up for that difference).
The great thing is that Prius retains its value very well. That's one reason why I stayed with it.