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RichmondVAGuy said:
I've been to two dealers in Richmond VA trying to just see a Prius. Both had one, but it was always "out."

At Haley Toyota I waited one hour for the "out" Prius to return. they could not tell me when it left, who had it, or how long they had been gone

I got the distinct impression, while watching RAV4 and Corolla shoppers getting coffee and donuts offered to them while I was ignored as "the Prius Guy" and had to buy my own diet coke out of a machine down the hall, that they were not interested in adding me to any list.

So far Toyota has not impressed me with any protocol for handling customers interested in a high-demand vehicle.
All due respect, what do you expect them to do? Listen, if you check around a while and ask around for recommendations you'll probably find a salesman at a dealership somewhere near you that is a real Prius nut and is happy to work with you and spend time with you and answer your questions. But, if you walk into a dealership cold (i.e. no appointment for a test drive with specific sales person), and the dealership has no Prii on the lot available to sell, you can't, realistically, expect a salesperson to sit around chatting with you about a car you probably know more about than he does and has no chance of selling to you any time in the next 6+ months. These guys work on commission. If they're chatting you up and getting you hot cocoa they can't be brow beating the next sale that drives up to the door...that's how they put food on the family table.

Toyota screwed up royally as far as estimates on sales...they regret it, I assure you. If you're a serious buyer despite the wait, do your leg work, ask around, follow a prius when you see it on the street and ask the guy who his salesman was, how much he paid, etc... Then call that dealership, ask for that salesman, ask if they have a Demo or TRAC car. Make a specific mutually agreeable appointment to meet and take an extended test drive (or to rent the TRAC) and talk and make a deposit and such.

This is a pretty unique circumstance and stomping your foot b/c you're not being treated special as a Prius Guy won't get you anywhere. If you're eager to buy NOW, then you've got a LOT of work to do and a lot of disappointment and being put-off to deal with. Start sending e-mails and making phone calls to EVERY dealership within any distance you're willing to travel (the author of this thread is a GREAT example of what can be accomplished). Be willing to compromise on the color, decide what you're willing to pay. If you can compromise on the package that'll help too. Make it clear up front what 'extras' you will and won't accept. Deal directly with the fleet or internet sales managers to avoid sales people who don't give a damn b/c you're not going to make them any money in the immediate time frame.

Good luck, hang in there, and try not to get frustrated..
 

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What a patronizing answer efusco!. I did not stomp my foot, whine, get in the way, or in any way impede the "putting food on the table" process at either dealership.
I'm sorry to offend, and I didn't intend to be patronizing. Your expectations, as you listed in your response, are not unrealistic at all. And you're quite right that you deserve to have all that done. I think I took your comment about the corolla folk getting coffee and cokes to mean you felt you should have been wooed just as much.

I think some of the follow ups to your reply to me are accurate. There are some very good salespeople at some dealerships...it's unfortunate that there can't be more consistancy across the board, but since these places are independently owned Toyota corporate's control is pretty minimal so there tends to be a lot of varience depending upon the management and reimbursement. That breeds bad attitudes and therefore bad customer service on the part of the short sighted salespeople.

I think I lost you with the first sentence of my original post--I encourage you to go back and try to absorbe the content of the rest of the post--it wasn't patronizing and I think it could be helpful to you--that's actually what I intended but obviously missed my mark.

I'm not sure why you're put off by the idea of an appointment. That is not an uncommon way to get the kind of service you deserve and it's a great way to establish a good relationship with a salesperson who will know you, remember you, and hopefully be of help to you in the future. They know that you're a serious buyer (b/c they know you didn't just drop in on a Saturday morning trip to Sam's and that they'll probably never see you again). I honestly think there's good value in this kind of arrangement and when there is only one Demo car on the lot it's a great way to be sure you get to spend some 'quality time' in it.

I again, sincerely, apologize for offending you and I hope you'll accept that my comments were not intended to be demeaning or patronizing, I just had a sense that your expectations were a little unrealistic--I see now that they weren't and feel bad about misunderstanding.
 
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