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I think you're right on the money. My original preference for silver or black with AM package (7), placed back in August has now arrived in white with package 6. Dealer got info on next allocation, one black with 9. I've decided to wait until 2005 model year arrives. Better luck with your situation.
 

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I am under no illusions that Toyota did not develop a master plan to piss off as many potential customers as possible, (although they probably couldn't have done a better job of it) and that they don't care how many individuals are upset with this process as long as they can sell the vehicle to the next name on the waiting list.

What upsets me the most is that the allocation system was not explained to me at the outset by the dealer. Thus the reason for all the unrealistic expectations. Silly me for actually expecting the car to come with the option package I requested and painted the color I wanted. I guess I shouldn't have assumed that I could do that with the Prius, like I had with every other car I've purchased. Had I been informed of the process when I ordered, or as I now know, preferenced my request, I wouldn't be so upset.
 

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I am total agreement with Pebble Beach. To address Dr. Fusco's points:

To 1 and 2, dealers were left out in the cold when it came to letting customers know how the 'ordering' process worked because Toyota left them out of the loop for too long. By the time they 'back-pedaled', there were a lot of confused, if not upset, potential customers.

To point 3, I will say this is untrue in my last experience. I bought a MINI Cooper in May 2002; another very hot car at the time (and still is). I test drove the vehicle, considered options and packages for a week, placed my order and received my car just the way I ordered it, right on down to the color of the mirror caps. The car was delivered in a timely fashion, and I COULD MONITOR MY CAR BEING BUILT in England every step of the way.

To point 4, color is important- many studies have been done showing how different colors affect overall safety (function of visibility), as well as the number of speeding tix one is likely to get (identical speeds, different colors-we all know red is the worst), not to mention the frequency of washing a black/white car versus other colors that hide the dirt better. If I'm spending over 21k on something, I'd like to be able to choose the color, at the very least.

To point 5, yes you can wait out your six months, hope that a car with your preferences for color and options arrives, and then watch it depreciate two months later when the 05's come out in August.

I contacted over 20 dealers in the Northeast and told them I was ready to buy and I knew exactly what I wanted. They said they had a waiting list a mile long and good luck. My own dealer's allocation is two cars this month and one in January.

Nice job with market research, Toyota!! Please note that I have said nothing negative about the car itself-I'd love to have gotten mine by now.
 

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Fair comparison? Porsche/Toyota?

I respectfully disagree with Joel's Porsche analogy. We're talking apples and oranges- there's quite a difference between putting option package 6 or 7, depending on customer's preference, versus walnut vs. cherry trim on the dash in a car that has a lot of individual work done on it as it's being built. I'm sure the Porsche dealer does a better job informing his/her customers of how the build/ordering process works, too.
 
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