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Discussion Starter #1
I must be extremely lucky - i gave my deposit on nov5th and was told that I can expect delivery in January - there were 5 people ahead of me.
Two weeks ago, my salesman called and said that Toyota was giving them a car on special allocation and wanted to know if I was interested - it had pkg2 which I did not order - he gave me a couple of days to tink about it - I got a call today and the car is ready for me to pick up tomorrow! :D :D
 

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teams1 said:
Two weeks ago, my salesman called and said that Toyota was giving them a car on special allocation and wanted to know if I was interested - it had pkg2 which I did not order - he gave me a couple of days to tink about it - I got a call today and the car is ready for me to pick up tomorrow! :D :D
Congratulations! Another Prius owner hits the road. :D
I too accepted a package that I did not order, just to be done with the waiting and to insure that I would actually get one before the 2005s come out and/or the price goes up. I should be hitting the streets in mine later this month. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
prius

I bought it at Miracle Toyota in Winter Haven, Florida. There was another dealer closer to me but they wanted a $ 2000 market adjustment and were not very pleasant to deal with
 

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Teams 1, I hope you didn't just "vote with your feet" but also gave the management at least a verbal assessment of your appreciation of the price gouging and the likelyhood of ever visiting their premises in the future. It would be a public service to give the name and location of the offending dealer here and in as many other appropriate venues as possible. If that dealership has an email addrress that you could share with us we might be able to drop him a line and request an explanation of his policy.

:D Pat :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The name of the dealer is Lakeland Toyota - they tried to tell me that all dealers were adding this market adjustment - and while I had gone there because they called and said that there was a car that was available immediately, there was another customer who was interested and they wanted to see who they could get more money out of. No more Lakeland Toyota for me - this is the third time in four years that they have lost a sale to me. Their email is lakelandtoyota.com.
 

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Teams1, I have gone to the offending dealer's web site (that was their web site not email addrress you gave) and found a link to give them feedback. There I posted your last posting on this topic along with some remarks of my own including an invitation to their management to state their official policy. It may be interesting to see how or if they defend their price gouging or if they deny it having happened.

I don't think additional requests need be made of them unless there is no response within a few days.

I think this is a very shabby practice. Ripping folks off, just because you can, though legal, is quite low morally. Around here when some gas stations get involved in price gouging such as in the period subsequent to 9-11, folks tend to have a long memory. Some popular local radio stations canvas sellers and report the highest and lowest prices. If a filling station is identified as being a gouger they can suffer long term losses as many locals will boycott them for a long time (or permanently.) Some gas stations, when brought under close scrutiny rapidly dropped their abusive prices ($5 or more per gallon) down to pre-disaster levels. A few offered refunds to all customers with receipts showing the high prices to try to get out of the fix they put themselves in trying to gouge customers.

I think a very bright light should be shone upon any dealers who try to gouge customers or put you to the back of the list for not accepting a different car than pref/ordered and their nearest competitors not employing the practice should be patronized in their stead. If there are negative consequences to behavior it can often be modified. Abandon the BOZOS and support the good guys.

:D Pat :D
 

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I know that dealers did the same thing when the MR2 Spyder came out - people were paying up to 6k over sticker - just to be one of the first to drive one. The problem is that people will pay it - unfortunately.

Sorry that your experience was so poor but remember that not all dealers are the same.
 

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teams1 said:
The name of the dealer is Lakeland Toyota lakelandtoyota.com.
Here is what I sent Lakeland Toyota:

Recently your dealership has become a topic of discussion. Here is a post from one of your would be customers.

"The name of the dealer is Lakeland Toyota - they tried to tell me that all dealers were adding this market adjustment - and while I had gone there because they called and said that there was a car that was available immediately, there was another customer who was interested and they wanted to see who they could get more money out of. No more Lakeland Toyota for me - this is the third time in four years that they have lost a sale to me. Their email is lakelandtoyota.com."

I added:

"If a member of the management team at Lakeland would care to make a statement regarding your policy in this regard, I would be pleased to post it for all to read. If not, it will be assumed to be true, an unfortunate situation as there are many readers who would be influenced by this and some could be in your area. I realize you have a "special" opportunity with the Prius given its supply/demand situation but be advised, if left unchallenged, this sort of widely disseminated information is altogether likely to influence folks to avoid your dealership altogether.

v/r

Pat"

Here is the reply from Lakeland Toyota: (note, they did NOT answer the question)

Thank you for contacting us and giving us the opportunity to respond. As you know the Prius is in high demand. At the current time we have over ten pre-sold orders at our dealership. There is a four to six month wait on the Prius. Dealers are not sure if they will even receive a Prius on their allocation. If a dealer does receive one, they have no say so on what color or what factory package it will arrive with. There for when the dealership does receive a Prius that does not match any pre-sold order they call the first customer, in order as to how they were pre-sold and give that customer the choice to accept the one that was received or they can continue waiting for the exact color and equipment they ordered. As for the prices on these vehicles, they all have been pre negotiated before they ever get to the dealership.

Cindy Smith
Lakeland Toyota

To this NON-RESPONSIVE reply I again queried thus:

"Cindy, Thanks for the speedy reply, however I am fully aware of everything you told me and nothing you said was in answer to the question I asked.

Can you confirm or deny whether or not it is official Lakeland Toyota policy to charge extra and above the sticker price on the Prius because of its scarcity? If yes, is this sanctioned or recommended by Toyota or is this oportunistic price gouging on the part of Lakeland.

Pat"

I'll post any additional reply.

What about tell the truth and shun the devil? Shine a bright light on the not so straight forward and watch them hem and haw and squirm and avoid the direct question...so far.

It isn't over until it is over but I don't expect to receive a truthful reply if any. I can't imagine they would have anything to say that would get me on their lot, EVER, for any reason. :cry:

Teams1, Can you comment on the ref to "prenegotiated price?" Were you involved in any price negotiation and or is that their euphemism for telling you up front they were going to gouge you if you'd let them?


:D Pat :D
 

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You should also contact the regional Toyota offices.

When I was looking at an '03 Prius, I think the saleman mentoned that, while Toyota was subsidizing the Prius, that dealers were prohibited from charging more than sticker price. I'm not sure if that hold for the '04 or not, but I don't remember hearing any other posts mentioning this.
 

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Fredo, When I was first looking at an '04 Prius and talking to a couple dealers, I found out real fast from one of them that if the other had offered a lower price than sticker he would have been turned in to Toyota intergallactic headquarters for summary punishment, or worse. As best as I could confirm, Toyota was trying to get dealers to hold the price and not discount the Prius. This was a few months ago.

Neither of the dealers I talked to so much as hinted that there was a possibility that they would charge a "gouge the customer because we can" fee. That would have been a real turn off. Please no flames from the guardians of the Purity of Essence of Prius ownership, I know there are reasons to buy a Prius other than MPG but lets face it, if a Prius got 30 mpg a whole lot of current Prius owners wouldn't be and most of the rest of us wouldn't be waiting in line to buy one. Most of the traffic on this board is either about mileage or about trying to get thte car to get the mileage (we are just lucky the Prius shines in other areas too.)

There is more that one way to subsidize sales. No accounting entry need be made between a dealer and Toyota corporate in order to subsidize sales. When a manufacturer holds the price artificially low that is a subsidy. It is a terrific strategic tactic as it rapidly populates the market with your car while making it real hard for someone to gear up to compete. After all, what is the incentive to spend really BIG bucks to compete at a price point where you can't make a profit or amortize your investment?

Toyota is marketing their patented Synergy system to sell lisc for manufacture. It is easier for a US maker to get into the hybrid business under these lisc agreements than reinventing the wheel, so to speak.

Given the above, if too many Toyota dealers "tack on" bogus gouging charges due to scarcity, they will incentivise domestic competition. It is in Toyota's best interests for dealers to not increase prices even though it does not effect total sales or Toyota corporate profit, directly in the short term.

U.S. makers should love to see the price of Prii shoot up for any reason as it makes it easier for them to compete.

If anyone strongly disagree with the gist of the above analysis, lets get your econ prof in touch with my econ prof and let them debate it.

:D Pat :D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Let me tell you how Lakeland Toyota does business - before they even talk price, they make you sign a statement to the effect "if we have an agreeable price, I promise to buy this car today". In my case, I was called at work and told that they have a car that is available, but I would have to come to the dealership right away - so like an idiot, I drive home to pick up the Civic Hybrid that I was trading in and then went to the dealership - I was ready to buy and drive away right then. The had a sticker on the window that showed "Market Adjustment : $ 2000. However, where they really stooped low was when they were trying to see if they could get more out of me or the other intersted party - I walked out.

I made a call to Miracle Toyota which is 20 miles down the road and the assured me that they do not have a market adjustment and I did the deal over the phone - I went and gave a $ 500 deposit several days later and received the car a month after my first phone call - I will be picking up the car on Saturday - it was ready last Monday, but I wasn't able to arrange pick up immediately.

The salesman's name at Lakeland Toyota was Al Habeil and he had the sales manager (don't remember his name) talk to me also. If they tell you anything different, they are full of it. I bought a Solara a couple of years ago and chose to drive 40 miles away because of the way Lakeland was trying to do business.
 

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A great car buying web site is: http://www.carbuyingtips.com

However, this site wouldn't work with the Prius since they're backordered so much. I put in an order this week for basically MSRP. The GM of the dealership told me that they received a letter from Toyota HQ recommending that they do not 'market adjust' (gouge) the consumer, as this puts a bad taste in the consumer who would be less likely to return/recommend.

I live in CA where gas is $1.75+ per gallon - I'm already getting gouged enough!
 

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rocketman7 said:
A great car buying web site is: http://www.carbuyingtips.com

However, this site wouldn't work with the Prius since they're backordered so much. I put in an order this week for basically MSRP. The GM of the dealership told me that they received a letter from Toyota HQ recommending that they do not 'market adjust' (gouge) the consumer, as this puts a bad taste in the consumer who would be less likely to return/recommend.

I live in CA where gas is $1.75+ per gallon - I'm already getting gouged enough!
Just one small, really tiny nit... Toyota is backlogged, not backordered. I say this partiallyy tongue in cheek since neither a customer nor a dealer may ORDER a Prius. Cuatomers "preferrence" a choice of accessories and color. None of this info leaves the dealership. Toyota doesn't know what you want and doesn't care. They send whatever they have to whatever dealers and if you get what you preferrenced then that is just fine. More likely you'll have to take another color or package or continue to wait. It is almost truly random... luck of the draw, except some packages are not sent to some geographic regions. Some will get exactly what they want right away and some will wait F O R E V E R.

Yesterday I called my dealer to ask what happened to the promise to contact me by email when the latest allocation was firmed up. The car was sold, they did not tell me, even though, supposedly, I'm #1 on the waiting list. They put me on the line with the "INTERNET SALES MANAGER" and we had a long chat where he told me that they were free to charge what the market will bear. Luckily it was a telecon and I couldn't do anything we would both regret.

About your gas prices... San Diego used to always have high prices while further east out by the state border prices were always considerably lower. The explanation for San Diego prices was the expense of trucking the gas down from Long Beach or wherever the terminal is. Of course the gas at the border was trucked from the same location, through San Diego, and on out to the border area. BS abounds in gas pricing.

Send a note to the Governator! Try to get Ahhnold on board the gas gouging inquest express. California requires special additives in gas for improved air quality. Of course there are literally thousands of leaks of these dangerous chemicals into the ground water. Substitutes that are just as dangerous have been proposed. Sometimes the proactive (overactive) environmentalist pressures in California go too far too fast in a BLIND rush to do more when less would be better. I'm for taking enough time to ensure changes are improvements before implementing something that may very well be a dangerous experiment. We need to be sure the FIX is not just another problem. //SOAPBOX MODE OFF//

Thanks for the link, if I defect it could be useful, say for getting a good deal on a VW diesel.

:D Pat :D
 

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patrickg said:
Customers "preferrence" a choice of accessories and color. None of this info leaves the dealership. Toyota doesn't know what you want and doesn't care.
I doubt that this is entirely accurate. Toyota, may not be able to alter their current Prius delivery process in mid-stream, but this kind of information is quite valuable to them.

They send whatever they have to whatever dealers and if you get what you preferrenced then that is just fine. More likely you'll have to take another color or package or continue to wait. It is almost truly random... luck of the draw, except some packages are not sent to some geographic regions. Some will get exactly what they want right away and some will wait F O R E V E R.
Every dealer I spoke with when searching for my car was very clear about which packages were available in my area. If a salesperson takes an order for a car that will never be delivered I would say they are not very good at their job.

Yesterday I called my dealer to ask what happened to the promise to contact me by email when the latest allocation was firmed up. The car was sold, they did not tell me, even though, supposedly, I'm #1 on the waiting list. They put me on the line with the "INTERNET SALES MANAGER" and we had a long chat where he told me that they were free to charge what the market will bear. Luckily it was a telecon and I couldn't do anything we would both regret.
That is too bad, Patrick. I'm very sorry to hear this. Hopefully your situation will be remedied quickly.

Moo:)
 

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Hey Moo, I'm not going into a half empty/half full sort of thing with you, I'll just say the container is about twice as big as it needs to be. Yes, Toyota does like to get information about what will sell. Do Asian manufacturers in general, as recognized by automotive writers of natonal standing, build it and tell America it is what we want? Yes, according to some sources (Consumers Reports included)

It is easy to sit at the edge of the circle of light cast by the fire and find examples of where SOMEWHAT general but within normal usage comments may have exceptions.

With a lot more specificity: Do you think or have evidence that so called orders are more than stated preferences to your local dealer? There can be a hard contract written and real $ put down but so what? That is just putting window dressing on a statement of preferrence which is not connected directly to the manufacture of a vehicle for you. Try to get a dealer to promise color and package by any particular date.

Of course, if Toyota is anywhere as good as we like to think they are, they will OF COURSE collect preferrence information to be folded back into the build process to be able to make cars for distribution through allocation more likely, in the aggregate, to fit what is being asked for. This is a macrocosmic feedback to improve the "fit" of what is built to what is being requested, again, IN THE AGGREGATE. Statistically, over time, it increases the odds of folks getting something closer to what they want. On a case by case basis as regards any specific buyer wanting a specific color and package, especially early in this ramp up phase, no real effect is noticed as regards what you ask for and what is built. They are not building to order!

I'm not saying that this is bad or wrong, just the way it is, and they have good reasons for doing it. There might be less frustratiion on the part of potential owners if they really understood this and divested themselves of the idea that they or the dealer were actually ordering a car for them in the sense of what that has historically meant. Your pref is a statement of conditions that if filled will likely result in your buying a car. That is a handy thing for the dealer to know, however, given the cycle time for the "macrofeedback" loop to take effect, it will not influence the outcome of your particular transaction.

Are yo old enough to remember Col Sanders and the "We have a constant frying schedule", ads? They did not cook to order, they just cooked according to a statistical analysis that showed them aggregate demand vs time of day, day of week, season, etc. If you wanted something not precooked you were out of luck or in for a long wait Of course fast food has reduced this practice due to food poisoning suits.

Hold the pickles, hold the letuce, special orders don't upset us? Toyota deviated widely from the fast food analogy here, they don't have special orders for Prius, they don't really have orders at all for the Prius.

Maybe we should be comforted that in the aggrgate we are drawing closer to what we want as a group although individually we may not.

Me, I'm just trying to buy what I want, specifically.

This distrubution scheme works well for both supplier and customer when there is enough of each variation available but really sucks from the consumer side if your bin is empty and your second and third choise bins are empty. Eventyually, hopefully faster than the advance and withdrawal of glaciers, production will catch up and pref feedback will have taken effect and all the bins will be filled according to demand. In the meantime all you 44 regulars should be happy to accept either a 48 long or a xxs short as there are plenty of those. Color, yes they come with colored paint, We have lots of Dayglo Orange but better to have that than not have a hot mover like the Prius. I mean... Beautiful plumage the Norweigan Blue, eh, squire?

:D Pat :D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I picked up my 04 Prius - silver with grey interior and pkg2. What a pleasant buying experience it was - the salesman stuck by his initial price - even gave me the trade in amount that he quoted 5 weeks ago even though I had put an additional 1000 miled on the Civic Hybrid. The car is a joy to drive - definitely more room than the Civic. It was very easy to drive - the seat takes little getting used to - wish I could adjust the height on it. :lol: :lol: :)
 

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Congratulations, on finding an honest dealer. If at first you didn't succeed, you hung in there and it payed off. It sounds like part of your surprise/elation is based on bad things that you were concerned about, not happening.

I have driven a Honda hybrid, an '03 Prius, and an '04 Prius. I agree with the masses, the '04 Prius is a clearly superior vehicle. It isn't just in certain quirky personal pref kinda things, it is, across the board throughout THE WHOLE ENCHILADA just a better piece of engineering.

There is the seat adjustment thing though. I certainly agree with you and the others who have commented on missing the ability to adjust the seats better, especially the driver's seat.

I'm happy for you. I feel like the dealer I have chosen is a basically honest operation and when eventually lightning strikes and I win the Prius lottery, I'll be a happy driver too.

Brief commentary on the state of affairs we find ourselves in more and more as our rock continues to circle the big fire in the sky: More and more it seems that what brings us pleasure is not so much getting what we want or having something good happen to us as it is to not have something bad happen. It isn't the same and it is cause to pause and consider this state of affairs.

Again congrats! I hope it was exactly what you wanted and remains so for a good long time.

:D Pat :D
 

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patrickg said:
It is easy to sit at the edge of the circle of light cast by the fire and find examples of where SOMEWHAT general but within normal usage comments may have exceptions.
Patrick,
Come on. You post here practically non-stop and I make one little comment and I'm somehow out of line? Is it something about me that irritates you, or do you just dislike being interrupted? You wrote, "Toyota doesn't know what you want and doesn't care." I'm not looking to argue with you at every turn, I just happen to think that Toyota DOES care about what their customers want and that information gathered at the dealership level IS valued by Toyota. I DO NOT think that potential Prius owners are placing an "order" with their dealer, as anyone who has read my previous posts on the subject would clearly understand. Borrowing your analogy, if what we're doing here is sitting around a fire, are we engaged in a dialogue, or are you simply performing a monologue that the rest of us are supposed to politely applaud? I'm an Aeschylusian. If it's oratory you're after just say so and I'll refrain from responding to your posts again.
Drive happy,
Moo :)
 

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