The prius hybrid technology is in high demand, and in low supply.
Like everything else in our economy the hybrid is on a supply and demand curve. The lower the supply the higher the demand.
Limited supply equals higher cost.
Thanks Rich Donovan
Rogers and Rogers Toyota
DAYTONA BEACH -- Joseph Farmarco is desperate for a Toyota Prius, but the hybrid car has become scarce since gas prices topped $2 a gallon.
The 71-year-old military retiree originally placed his order in December, but recently got a rejection reminiscent of the "No soup for you" episode on "Seinfeld."
Farmarco said the sales manager at DeLand Toyota "thinks he's the god of vehicles."
Jeff Sladek, the general sales manager at DeLand Toyota, 1701 S. Woodland Blvd., said Farmarco was calling the dealership almost daily to check on his Prius. "It almost got to the point of harassment," Sladek said.
The dealership and Farmarco parted ways, but many other car buyers are willing to wait a very long time for a car that gets 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 miles on the highway.
Dealers in the Southeast reportedly have a backlog of 20,000 orders.
The hybrid cars are so hard to get DeLand Toyota has another customer who has been waiting since October.
Sladek said Toyota has resorted to a lottery-style system of allocating the hybrid cars to the dealerships. Because the dealers cannot make reservations, the waiting period can be indefinitely long.
The wait may also depend on what kinds of features the consumer wants with his car.
A sales manager at another dealership, who asked not to be identified, said consumers can shorten their waiting time by paying $5,000 above the list price.
The base price for a Prius is $20,860, but the median price is more like $25,000, dealers said.
Tom Turner, a RE/MAX agent in New Smryna Beach, got his Prius after a relatively short, two-month wait, he said. "They just happened to have the one I wanted."
Turner traded in a Lexus sports utility vehicle that was averaging about 19 miles to the gallon.
Driving home to home is part of the real estate agent's daily grind.
"We're trying to figure all the ways we can to cut expenses," Turner said.
The Prius has become a public relations boon because his real estate customers love it, he said.
Hybrids impress the environmentally savvy because they have small gasoline engines and electric motors and batteries, making their fuel economy superior to the traditional gasoline car.
Like Toyota, Honda also produces a hybrid Civic. They sell for around $20,300 to $21,400, said Pat Boyle, a sales representative for Jon Hall Honda, 300 N. Nova Road.
They get between 49 to 55 miles per gallon.
Unlike the Prius, the Civic is not as hard to find. As of Wednesday, the dealership still had one available.
While the demand is strong, they continue "to trickle in" from the manufacturer, Boyle said. "We can usually get one no problem."
Farmarco, who lives in Putnam County, is still shopping around for a Prius. He has visited Toyota dealers in Daytona Beach and Jacksonville.
They all say the same thing, he said. "It's going to be a while."
Thanks Richard Donovan
Rogers and Rogers Toyota
And in my own unscientific survey, 4 out of 5 dealers had NO mark up! What's your excuse besides I'm greedy and will reem any environmentally conscious consumer who mistakenly comes my way. Why don't you truly show some heart and fly Mr. Farmaco out to purchase your Prius at MSRP?
Let's see, $5000...well that would pay for 2,500 gallons of gasoline....at 20 mpg on a clunker that would pay for 50,000 miles of travel...
My favorite dealer story regards the "last convertible" that Cadillac was pushing back in 1976. As I recall GM billed this car as the very last convertible that they will ever build....they jacked up the price and called it a limited edition (I suppose it was limited to the number they could sell)
Car dealers (IMHO) are just the modern version of the world's oldest profession -
There are plently of low life dealers, and also buyers. Have a look at autotrader and ebay and you'll see private sellers asking 30k for Prii with over 10,000 miles on them. I am lucky as I took delivery Nov 8th and absolutely LOVE my #9 Prius.
Here is how the racket works: 1) Toyota is trying to limit dealers from charging above invoice. 2) Dealer sells car to "friend" for invoice. 3) "Friend" posts on eBay or other site and sells car. 4) "Friend" gets tax credit, dealer (gracious heavens, can such things be?) may or may not receive under the table cash kickback.
Owner gets desired car. I paid about $31,500 for the Silver/Grey 2004 with option package 9 in late November. I bought it on eBay after email negotiations with seller. Dealer tags, 27 miles, plausible story from seller about good relation with dealer.
Currently in South Florida the under the table quotes I'm getting from dealers are around $2,000 over list, but it may be higher, now.
I got my prius silver package #9 3 weeks ago, I waited 2 months and, I did not pay a pennie over MSRP. Matter of fact I still got in before the 300 price increase. For those dealers out there playing the supply demand game, I hope Toyota reduces your allocations. For those dealers playing by the rules, word of mouth travels fast. It's the best advertising you can get.
I think that the issue is much more complex that "supply and demand". That term has been used to justify price-gouging since the free market system was established, but it doesn't accurately describe the situation. The truth is the Prius is a fine automobile, but is not selling numbers close to Toyota's Corrolla or Camry. Dealer's still need to sell those popular models to pay the bills and the truth is price-gouging doesn't settle well with consumers. If a potential Toyota buyer knew that Dealer X was gouging people, they would not go their to buy the Camry, Corrolla, Avalon, etc. Why would a consumer care if it was a Prius? Would a consumer rationalize that the dealer only gouges Prius buyers and not Camry buyers?
One thing we as consumers can do is use the media for what it was intended for; informing others. If you are unhappy with a dealership talk to your local news station.
Frustration and terrible service by our dealer and Toyota led my partner and I to write a letter to our local news station in San Francisco and were part of a segment on the Prius that aired earlier this week. The segment took a look at what consumers need to know about the Prius before buying. We also made a formal complaint to Toyota. Service has improved greatly and we expect our car next week.
I feel it is our job as consumers to equalize the supply and demand curve by keeping each other informed. I am sure that your local news channel would love to hear about price-gouging (especially from car dealers) because that makes a great story for them. I sincerely doubt that the public will accept "that's supply and demand, baby, like it or lump it". Consumers will avoid dealerships with a bad reputation or use the knowledge to avert being swindled.
Also, rewarding dealerships that offer exceptional service and fairness is just as important. Let Toyota or local media know about your good experiences as well.
Personally, I support the effort to sell the car for way over MSRP. This way I clearly understand the ethics and motivations of the dealer and know that no favorable long term relationship will ever exist with this dealer except for perhaps instant and temporary gratification from a single desperation purchase, without having to involve myself with the dealer or visit it. I won't be buying from this dealer, nor will my family or friends. I now have one less dealer to consider for my future purchases. Someday, perhaps the owner will wonder, "Was it really worth it?" FWIW, I paid MSRP just a few weeks ago. In today's auto market, MSRP is a premium price, but at least it is the intended price and ethical.
For all you cry babies out there I have not heard one complaint from any consumer that has gone to a car dealership and gouged the dealer out of any profit that was an the MSRP of the car.
Dealers discount cars for millions of dollars per year, and sell vehicles at a loss many of times all to the cunsumers befefit. So as far as the Prius is concerned if the dealership can ask for a premium on the hottest selling vehicle on the market for a short period of time so be it, because in the long run on this model too the dealer will take the money from his pocket and give it back to the consumer in ways of discounting yet nobody ever complains about that.
cry babies ponder this thought when you go to your local supermarket and buy a t-bone steak do you ask the butcher to give up all his profit, yet this is what happens every day of the year in the car business.
If you are willing to avoid a 9 month waiting list, we sold the one we had last night but we just received another package nine today.
Rogers and Rogers Toyota
:lol: Ok, now this has just gotten to strange to not get a comment from me......Dealers selling at a loss? Never happens despite what they may want us to believe. Even if the Dealer sells at Invoice price there are still discounts and rebates from the factory so they will never loose money. If a Dealer wants to charge more than MSRP, and he finds someone that is soooo willing to part with their money.....well, don't they say a Fool and his money are soon parted?. As for me, I am a smart shopper and I can wait, I don't need my Prius tomorrow or even next month and I know the Dealer I am working with to be worthwhile of having a long term relationship with. I will be getting my 2005 Prius in October for less than MSRP and be getting the $300 price increase back from Toyota also. The dealers here know that a good relationship means repeat business for them and referrals. Playing it straight in Minnesota.
Richard, it is attitudes like yours that make most people hate dealing with car dealers. Calling your customers crybabies isnt exactly good business. Dont worry most of us know how much scorn dealers hold their customers in.
Spare us the selling cars at a loss stuff.
You guys make hand over fist on service too. Never comment on that do you? Or how much you make on used cars. The one area where the customer has a fighting chance for a square deal is in new.
Again, if you want to gouge people and look for the one time sell go right ahead. Your business do what you want.