I've been doing quite a bit of research on the Prius here in Chicago, and have learned much from this and other forums along the way. I'm pretty much set to pull the trigger, and took one last test drive at another local Toyota dealership the other evening, just to make sure I've covered everything and "tested" everything I could.
My dealer's "line" was your typical aggressive sales pitch, but some facts did come through once I dusted off all the hype. Principally, this dealer had something like eight Priuses on his lot, which was simply unheard of a year ago. My sales guy explained that high gas prices (almost $2) in 2001 created a huge demand for these vehicles, and that so far in 2002 gas has remained somewhat steady around $1.55 avg in this area and as such has not sparked sufficient alarm to motivate people to buy. I found this interesting, as my entire motivation from day one was 90% environmental and 10% economical, and that 10% didn't change with the cost of gasoline (a 50% savings in gas usage is still a 50% savings in gas usage). Regardless, I just wanted to say that Chicago area drivers who have been tossing around the idea of purchasing a Prius may never again find a buyer's market like this one, where supply is plentiful and dealer motivation is high to make room for the 2003's.