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Discussion Starter #1
I'm buying a demo model 04 Prius from a dealership next month. It has 1000 miles on it. Is this a good idea? Should I expect any reduction in price because of it?
 

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don't hold your breath

I cannot speak for your dealer or the condition of the car, but when I got my 03 from Savannah Toyota, it was not in the best condition, there was much water damage to the carpet, and their attitude was, essentially, "like it or move on". There was no price reduction at all. I got the car anyway, because I needed a car and had made a commitment with my ethics to go hybrid, but I will never spend my money with them again! I don't think you will have much luck getting a better price because there is another buyer standing behind you willing to take the car as is at price. I hope for your sake that I am erroneously flawed in my negative attitude! Good luck!
 

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This is just my opinion: People test-driving a car are not going to follow the break-in procedure. They are not going to respect the car. They don't care if they bump a curb, and they are not going to tell the dealer, "Oh, by the way, I did thus-and-such, maybe you ought to check it out." The car will have been abused during precisely the time when it should be treated the most gently.

I would never buy a demo car, nor recommend it.

As for price, as leebek said, the demand for this car is so great they may have no trouble unloading the demo at MSRP. I'd say, pass it by, and either make the hard search for a Prius farther away, or wait until supply catches up with demand (maybe a year?)

It's a great car, and I love mine, but I'd never have bought the demo (which they offered to sell me) even though it was the exact color and package I wanted.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Of course, what I want to hear is some positive experiences, if anyone has any. If the car is still under warranty (which this one will be), then how could buying a demo be such an enormous risk. Isn't buying a demo with 1k miles better than buying, say, a used 02, or 03 Prius?
 

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I bought mine from the dealer with 1074 miles on it. It was the exact color and options package as the one I ordered through the same dealership (was supposed to wait until June to get delivery). It was gently used, and had no stains on the carpet, upholstery, etc. When I decided to take the car, I sent them a list of things they had to do, including changing the oil, oil filter, air filter, etc. I had them rotate and balance the wheels and suspension, I also had them do a full checkup on the car, and also had them remove that stupid-ass dealership identifcation sticker on the back so I didn't have to ride around being an advertisement. The only thing I found that the dealership wouldn't do is inflate the tires to 42F/40R, which was easy enough to take care of after rolling it off the lot. In addition, my dealer did knock about 1000 dollars off the cost, and they were already beating everyone else in the state on the price of the one I had ordered.

So far, I have had it since mid-January, and just passed 6161 miles this afternoon. I just finished a three-week roadtrip and the car is a joy to own and drive. I have had only one problem, at the end of my road-trip, involving a bit of water and an electrical connector (mentioned in another thread) which, I'm told by the technicians at a different toyota dealership, is a problem Toyota is working on at the moment.

In all, I'd say that going the route of getting the fleet model at around 1000 miles isn't bad, but I would insist on the price being lowered, making sure that I got a good look at it (I was offered some kind of scuzzy fleet models by other dealerships without a discount that I certainly wouldn't have bought even if they were discounted), and making sure that it had new oil, filters, etc, was checked out before I picked it up, etc.

The cars themselves seem to be pretty darn solid. The technicians I spoke to when my car was in the shop were really surprized to see one in the shop because people have so fer problems with them.
 

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If you do get a demo model, try to
get the dealer to give you some
supporting documentation that they
do not intend to take the US Federal
Clean Fuel Vehicle deduction, and
that they consider you the first
new owner of the Prius. (A demo
is usually plated/registered, so its
no longer a new vehicle. Only new
purchasers are eligible for the
federal deduction.) With the docs,
you should be able to take the deduction.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all of the good advice. I had forgotten about the tax issue and I will bring it up with the dealer for sure.

I signed a contract a while back claiming the demo model, and comitting to it as long as I was satisfied with the financing. I put $1000 down as a deposit. If I can't get the dealer to lower the price a bit and/or the car seems too used to justify the new car price, do you beleive I can redirect my deposit towards the order of an incoming, new model?

I know everyone will likely be unable to answer this exactly, but has anyone had a similar experience? Such as ordering a car only to decide against it and wait for something else?
 

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The contract you signed may change things, but lots of folks have put down the $500 deposit at more than one dealer, and then gotten the deposits back from the dealers from whom they did not buy.

Considering the demand, and how easy it should be for the dealer to sell the car, it seems more than reasonable that the dealer should let you apply the deposit to a new car instead. -- Where you wind up on the waiting list is another matter.
 
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