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I would be interested in hearing anyone's experiences with buying a Prius in the SoCal area. Unlike lots of what I read on this board, you see many Priuses driving around LA. I see at least one a day (the guy down my street has a black #9) and usually at least one more.

I am in line for a Prius at Longo Toyota. I chose them because they said they would give me a car at MSRP plus floor mats, and they said that my $500 deposit was 100% refundable, and they said so in writing. I explored other dealerships, but found either mandatory dealer extras (Hollywood Toyota's lojack) or plain old no-excuses MSRP markup (Miller Toyota of Culver City).

I also tried dealerships in smaller towns, often a long drive away, on the theory that they might have cars in stock. I struck out completely -- it appears that Toyota is concentrating on filling orders that it already has rather than sending cars to dealers who don't have any orders.

I would love to exchange experiences, successful or otherwise, with other Prius wanters/owners in the SoCal area -- or even anywhere in the West. I would happily drive to Arizona and back if I could get a Prius out of it.

Thank you for any insight. --Tara.
 

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Hello everyone,
I have been a silent guest on this board since January. Everyone’s comments on the Prius convinced me that this was the car for me. Here is my experience so far:

Mid January started calling all Toyota dealerships within 200 miles of Phoenix. Most had a list of over 25 people. Some did not even have a list at all. Some had a $500.00 non-refundable deposit. Most, at the time, were charging MSRP. I finally found Superstition Springs Toyota. The list was only 6 people long and a $500.00 refundable deposit was required. However, they did have a $500.00 mark-up above MSRP. Considering how hot these cars were getting and how high gas prices were going, I thought it was a good deal. Put my deposit down in Mid February for a #7 any color.

The Fleet Manager was great! He gave me e-mail updates every two weeks about my position on the list. In March, I received my key chain from Toyota with an apology about the wait. First week in April, I received a letter from Toyota about the $300.00 price increase. Later that week, I got a call from the dealership telling me my car was in Los Angeles (WHITE #7) and will be in Phoenix in a few days. I picked up the car the following week and the dealership did not change the original $500.00 over MSRP. (I’ll be getting a $300.00 check from Toyota).

Overall, my experience with the Toyota dealership was very positive. I love the car and I’m on my 3rd tank of gas. First tank was 46.8 mpg (still learning). Second tank was 49.5 mpg (getting better). I hope to break 50 mpg on this tank.

I’m sorry to hear about all the people having bad experiences with Toyota dealerships. This is such a fine car, it is a shame some dealerships are giving Toyota a bad reputation as a price gouger.
 

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I did the same research, checking dealerships in southern California and found them all to want a min of $500 deposit, and most wanted above MSRP. Keys Toyota in Van Nuys called me to inform me that they had one in at MSRP so I took the 65 mile drive from Upland to Van Nuys. When I got there the price changed to have a $3000 markup.

I eventually went on the internet to get a contact in the Las Vegas area, a 3-4 hour drive from my home. I contacted a dealership there and was told that I would have only a 30 day wait with a $1000 deposit and at MSRP. I went ahead with the deposit on a credit card so I would have recourse should something go wrong. In less than 30 days December 2, 2003, I had my Pkg 9 at MSRP and they never debited my credit card.
 

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Which Dealer in Vegas....

Code4

WHich dealer in vegas did you use? and can I drop your name to (hopefully) get the same deal? I'd love an excuse to go to Vegas.

I just committed (emotionally) to a Prius (goodbye gas guzzling SUV). Longo Toyota charges MSRP with $500 refundable deposit with 4-6 month wait. Although I am not officially signed up yet because husband doesn't want me to put money (even refundable money) down until he sees the car.

I did get on the list at Glendora Toyota (MSRP, no deposit, 6-8 month wait). I'm #90.

Now that I am emotionally committed, 6 months (+/-) seems like forever.

Brenna

ps. I'm in La Verne, we're practically neighbors.
 

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Tara,

I am in San Diego. Dealer waits here vary from 6-12 months. i started emailing to some rural dealers and found a bit of luck. First off though, don't deal with "I-10 Toyota" in Indo, they blatantly jack up their prices and the person I spoke with was rather rude about it.

The best luck I have had so far was http://www.michaeltoyota.com in Fresno. The person i am working with is Evan Schroeder. He emailed me a quote for MSRP, no extras, tideland #9. The quote included tax, title, etc. He was very professional and things are looking very good for this deal to go through with no surprises.

Also, the wait they quoted me was 1-2 months. And the $500 deposit is just on the books, no real transaction was made on my card.

I wish i got a referral bonus!

-drew
 

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I got my car from Dianne at Carson Toyota. The entire experience was great except for the wait, but that is with every dealer. I paid MSRP and not one cent over. I went with Carson because Dianne was the most knowledgeable Prius dealer in the Southern California area I could find. I live in the West San Fernando Valley and certainly could have gone to a dealer much closer to my home, but am glad I went the extra distance to work with a reliable, honest dealer.

The web site to order a Prius from Carson is http://carsontoyota.com/html/requestprius.html in case you want to check it out.

Jeff
 

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I echo Jeff_kash sentiments on Carson Toyota. Dianne Whitmire was honest and I paid MSRP. The wait is inevtiable, but Dianne is VERY knowledgeable about the Prius, active on the web sites and everything about the deal went smoothly. I live in the San Fernando Valley as well, and it was a bit of a trip for me, too, but it was well worth it.
 

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I got my Prius from Longo. MSRP. No hassles or haggling. A good experience, with very little effort on my part. Will Cottles was my sales person. I had to wait about 4 months though (got on the list last Oct., and got the car end of last Feb.). I paid a bit higher than some for the extended warranty, but other than that, no problems. :)
 

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jeff_kash said:
I got my car from Dianne at Carson Toyota. The entire experience was great except for the wait, but that is with every dealer. I paid MSRP and not one cent over. I went with Carson because Dianne was the most knowledgeable Prius dealer in the Southern California area I could find. I live in the West San Fernando Valley and certainly could have gone to a dealer much closer to my home, but am glad I went the extra distance to work with a reliable, honest dealer.

The web site to order a Prius from Carson is http://carsontoyota.com/html/requestprius.html in case you want to check it out.

Jeff
That's strange, I e-mailed Dianne and got NO response.

jim
 

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tcmckellar said:
I would be interested in hearing anyone's experiences with buying a Prius in the SoCal area. Unlike lots of what I read on this board, you see many Priuses driving around LA. I see at least one a day (the guy down my street has a black #9) and usually at least one more.
Tara,

stay away from North Hollywood Toyota, $5k mark up and they'll let you drive 80 miles one way before they tell you. Then they'll kiss your butt with kind e-mails from the VP but they never come through with anything. Shame on Toyota for building a great car and letting scumbags represent it.

jim
 

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Hi, this is my first post here, but I have been reading PriusOnline since January. I learned a lot. I started thinking about purchasing a Prius near the beginning of January. I live in So. Cal. I first looked at my local Toyota dealer. They would not take a waiting list. They offered what they had at $5000 over MSRP. They had 2 white #9 and one salsa red #3 not spoken for at the time. I said no thanks and the sales person was willing to come down to $2000 above MSRP. I still said no thanks. Besides I did not want a white car again and the salsa one had the wrong package. I am driving a white VW Jetta (95 GLX) right now. It has 208 k miles on it and still runs great. But I think I am ready for a new car.

I decided to use CarsDirect.com. They directed me to another nearby Toyota dealer and they quoted me a MSRP price. So I signed up with them near the end of January, for a $500 refundable deposit. They said it would take about a month. That was a lie. At the end of month the story was oh we did not get the allocation we normally got, it will be another month. I asked the sales person what number I was on the list. He said 15. My name was given to Toyota corporate so I got the Prius key tag and letters. A month later the sales man said it will be another month. I am now around 22 on the list (I let it slide because he did not have the exact numbers handy at the time). Another month passes. This time the sales man said I am around 30 on the list and have a two to three month wait. This is when I blew my stack (well not really -- I always remain polite). I asked how can I start out at 15 and now be 30. He says: the 15 position was the number of Prius car buyers on my own list. I asked how that is relevant to me, and asked him to find out my exact position on the dealers list. He said he would call me back.

At this point I was upset enough to call the Toyota corporate number (the one they had in the mail to us). It told them I think this dealer is crooked. I gave them the whole story. They gave me a formal complaint number. They also told me that my car has not come up on the shipping list yet. So apparently they do have some kind of tracking. They knew who I was.

At this point I decided to put my name on other dealer lists. I was going to try to find dealers that were away from the big cities, because from other email posts that seemed to work for some fairly well. I live in the LA area. It was the end of April when I started this search. I decided to print out the list of all CA dealers that I got from the Toyota web site. Then I used my Delorme USA map software and entered the zip of all dealers to locate them geographically. For the ones that were in less populated areas I put a note tag on the map, with their phone number and name. Then I displayed the map and picked likely dealers to call. (This is all happening while waiting for the call from the original dealer to give me the position in the waiting list I took the day off from work.). I called about 7 dealers that were likely candidates. One flat out said we only sell to local customers. That was a dealer way up north. Another sounded fairly promising. They had only 5 on their waiting list. I would be number 6. They said they get around two Prius a month. But they also said it might take from 1 week to 2 months. It all depends on what comes in and that some on the waiting list have some very specific requests that they are not going to get (like a package #7 which is not being delivered to CA). I put my $500 dollars down (refundable) with them. By the way I wanted a package #9 with any color except black or driftwood.

Next day: My original dealer did not give me the order on the waiting list yet. I left a message with him and he called me back (finally) and said exactly this: You are number 14 now, you were number 51. Huh? Do you think corporate called them? I dont know for sure but it sure seems strange for him to say it that way. Anyway I did not count on them anymore.

Last Wednesday (May 13) I decided to put in an order for the front end mask from the Toyota parts store, just in case I get the call from the second dealer. Its a 5 hour drive from that one.

Next day (May 14) I got a call from the original dealer. He said it would be another 1 to 2 months. The same old story, except this is the first time he ever called me.

On the same day I got a call from the second dealer. He says, We have a silver package # 9 available. The person it was for was not ready yet (not ready yet? I was ready for months). He still had not sold his other car. Would I like this one? You know the answer to that. I am going to pick it up this coming weekend, also totally at MSRP. It did come with the carpets, bumper appliqu� cargo net, and wheel locks. The price he quoted was exactly the MSRP with those accessories on the Toyota site. I waited 1 day shy of two weeks at this second dealer.

So the whole point is that it is not a hopeless wait. There is always a chance to find a Prius somewhere quicker if you put in the work. It did not list dealer names, because it is not pertinent. What worked for me might not work for someone else. And things change. But if you dont make the effort to find one and are not flexible in colors or pick packages not being made for the region, for sure you will have to wait.

PS: Actually I think it was the fact that I ordered the front end mask that got things rolling. :D
 

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Hi, first post.
jeff_kash said:
I got my car from Dianne at Carson Toyota. The entire experience was great except for the wait, but that is with every dealer. I paid MSRP and not one cent over. I went with Carson because Dianne was the most knowledgeable Prius dealer in the Southern California area I could find. I live in the West San Fernando Valley and certainly could have gone to a dealer much closer to my home, but am glad I went the extra distance to work with a reliable, honest dealer.
I dunno, Jeff. I ordered my Green Package Nine from Carson back in October when they told me "January or February." When the time came close, I called and they extended the date. They did that several more times, always giving me an ETA that was soon but then continually disappointing me with bad news. So frustrating! It would've been fine if she'd told me "next October" instead of letting the date continually slip.

However, in March, a friend ordered a Prius and got one two weeks later from South Bay in Gardena. A couple days after that, Penske in Downey offered him a Silver Package Nine (shotgun approach, nice). He didn't need it so he offered it to me, and I took it for $1k over MSRP. If I wanted the Green Package Nine with 100 desire units, the Silver Package Nine was 98 units. I just figured more people would have silver than green.

I was happily driving it for two months, but then I got rear-ended (!) so the car was in the shop for a little over two weeks. Got it back today. You don't realize how much you miss your Prius until you have to drive something else. Also, my cd changer stopped working, so I took it in today and they ordered a replacement. Two weeks. Covered by warranty. But man, my six discs are still in there!

Anyway, you're right about Dianne. Very nice, very knowledgeable. I'd have loved to buy a car from her. But she wasn't making it very easy; typically the seller has to have product to complete a sale. Technically I am still waiting! Linh at Penske made it really easy: called and said TODAY and I said okay. When Carson finally does call to offer me a car, I'll call around and see if any of my friends want it, and if they don't I will go back and get my refundable $500 deposit.

P.S. While my car was in the shop, the 405 mocked me with its Priuses. One morning driving past Long Beach, I saw one red and five blue 2004s. That afternoon, a green. Next morning, a blue and a brown. Curse you, 405!
 
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