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Toyota Prius, Hybrid Cars, Sedan
#1573 of 2152 Re: Why Prius??? [indianajohns]
Jun 07, 2008 (3:16 pm)
The short answer to your question, at least the one I would have given last year with gasoline under $3/gallon, is that Prius ownership is a cult. For many of us we are so invested in our auto-based lifestyle it's like we'll give up our cars when they pry the steering wheel from our cold, dead fingers.
Personally, I'm an eco-snob and downplay my Prius ownership, instead boasting of the 100 miles a week I ride my 2000 mpg power-assist bike instead of driving my car. I have a bumper sticker on my bike, "F--k Prius drivers". I do love my Prius, though. Alas, we must all learn to live with paradox (smiling).
Back to your question, I've long argued the same thing, so I appreciate the mind you've put to this question. I'd love to buy a Prius with a 70 hp turbogasoline engine instead of the hybrid drivetrain for about $7,000? less. Especially since I drive long hwy stretches where the hybrid engineering (regen, Atkinson cycle, CVT, idle-stop, etc) has diminished advantage.
But here are the two factors auguring toward the Prius, at least for typical 50/50 city/hwy drivers:
1) Gasoline futures: An average gasoline price of $5/gallon over the next 5 years is shockingly optimistic. Gasoline could go to any price whatever in any time whatever. $10/gallon by next summer is by no means inconceivable. They pay that in Europe--why not here? I would think there is no doubt whatever that it will hit $10 within 5 years. So I would work the numbers using a variety of gasoline price assumptions. I bet you come up with a breakeven point of about $7.50/gallon average, just on the gasoline trade-off. And I would think that that is as good a guess as any.
2) Depreciation: With gasoline going through the roof the Prius will be as good as gold in resale value. I can give a perfect example: In 2002 I bought a 19mpg 02Honda Odyssey for $33,000 OTD and a 29mpg 02Honda Civic EX for $16,000 OTD (got a bad deal on the Ody and a fantastic deal on the Civic as it was remainder. Who wanted a Civic with gasoline at $1.00/gallon?).
Today the Civic is worth slightly more than the Ody, both about 10k.
The difference between the Prius' 44realworld mpg and the Corolla's realworld mpg of 29-30mpg is the same proportion as the Ody to the Civic . . . .
So I'd depreciate your hypothetical Corolla by 2/3-3/4 and the Prius by 1/4-1/3 over 60 months, as a trial assumption. The Corolla could lose $10-12k and the Prius might only lose $6k. That's pretty much your differential right there. Maybe worse. They may be scrapping Corollas, just like they're scrapping RVs now, who knows?
BTW, for absolute spot-on real world mileage figures go to Consumer Reports. If you do a lot of smooth, steady hwy driving I'd opt for a Fit or Yaris over the Prius, unless you have your heart set on certain options not available in these models.
Also, edmunds.com has a feature called TCO, True Cost to Own, for all models. You have to play with the assumptions a bit, but obviously you have the math to do so.
Toyota is said to be offering the iQ in January. If they make it with their 1.0 liter, 70hp engine, it'll actually get slightly better mileage than the Prius on the highway, low 50s. I'd guess the overall mpg would be very close to Prius. Content yourself by looking up mileage figures for some Toyota models, the 1.0 liter Aygo for example, offered in England: toyota.uk.com. Remember an Imperial gallon is 1.2 times more gasoline than an American gallon. Seating 3 adults +1 child, the iQ is 2/3 the car, but about half the price of Prius, I'd guess.
Eventually we'll have plug-in hybrid electrics with about a 40 mile all-electric range backed up by about a 40hp turbogasoline or turbodiesel engine good for 70-80 mph. They'll get the equivalent of 100 mpg. That'll be about the end of the line for conventional cars. By then you'll hardly ever see a car with fewer than 4 people riding in it. And there will be four bikes, some or all electric, hanging off the bike rack.
Darn, I do go on. If you've read this far I appreciate your perserverance.
#1575 of 2152 Re: Why Prius??? [bob104]
Jun 07, 2008 (4:31 pm)
That's some good stuff. Especially the bike bumper sticker coming from a Prius owner.
I will retort that NADA currently lists both the 2005 Prius and 2005 Corolla at almost exactly $4,000 less than their new MSRP. Also, when the electric hybrids come out won't the gas/electric hybrids also be obsolete? When the Core2 Duo processor was introduced, did it not make the Pentium 3 as well as the Pentium 4 processors obsolete? I may wait it out. Kind of like I waited out the BlueRay vs HD DVD war.
#1576 of 2152 Re: Why Prius??? [indianajohns]
Jun 07, 2008 (5:31 pm)
I'd wait as long as I could. I plan on an iQ early next year as our second car. That is if we don't move into "town" in which case we'll become a one-car, one-ebike w/trailer family.
The car industry has been slow to offer the huge line ofconventionally-powered true subcompacts, minis, that they offer in Europe. They'd love to sell you a Corolla today and a PHEV in two years. But with sales plummeting for bigger cars and a frenzy for Yaris, Fit and Prius they are going to have to sell minis if they are going to be able to sell anything.
The average car in the US only gets about 20 mpg. A used 30-32mg Corolla, like my used 30mpg Civic is still a hot item, saving about $1000/year in gasoline over John Doe's Taurus. And so it will be with 66mpg? PHEVs vs. today's 44mpg Prius. BTW, there's diminishing returns on fuel efficiency. 66mpg vs. 44 mpg only saves 90 gallons/year. The best efficiency is car pooling. Your Prius can get "220mpg" with 5 riders.
The comparison I would make in order to project depreciation of a 30mpg 08Corolla vs. a 44mpg 08Prius (50% better mpg) is not 05Corolla vs. 05Prius (both lost only $4,000, but the Corolla lost a larger percentage) but a 20mpg 05 Camry vs. a 30 mpg 05 Corolla (also 50% better mpg).
We're in fairly rarefied air here. I don't think anyone, even Edmunds' TCO, can project future depreciation in a marketplace that is so unpredictable. You just have to make the best assumption you can.
Mine is that an 08 Prius will lose less value than any new car you can buy today.
Just to throw in a monkey wrench, currently it costs, what $4000?, to replace the Prius battery. That means you may need to add in a set-aside cost of about 4 cents/mile, 3 cents in CA with it's 150k warranty, for the battery expenditure.
Somewhere, maybe $5-7/gallon, the Prius has a lower TCO, true cost to own, than does a comparable 30 mpg car. Comparing to a 40 mpg mini, the Prius just can't pan out.
Bring on the minis. Maybe in January . . .
#1577 of 2152 Re: 08regularPrius#6 [bob104]
Jun 07, 2008 (5:41 pm)
I got a 2008 Package #6 from Toyota of Santa Monica for $26,250 in mod-April. Don't ever buy through the salesmen, always go through the internet fleet department. They are much nicer, faster, and you can settle on a price before you even get to the dealer. They had my car waiting when I arrived and all I had to do was sign the paperwork.
#1578 of 2152 Re: Why Prius??? [indianajohns]
Jun 07, 2008 (6:17 pm)
You might spend your whole life waiting........
#1579 of 2152 Re: Why Prius??? [prelec]
Jun 07, 2008 (8:18 pm)
The car industry must do something. I was just watching Bloomberg and car sales are running at an unbelievably low 10 million or so per year. That's down from the recent high of 17 million per year. That something will be to offer a bunch of inexpensive minis with conventional engines that get as good of mileage as the Prius. There are dozens of them for sale in Europe. Fiat makes an 80hp turbo that emits 69gm CO2 per km, compared to the Prius at about 104gm. That should pencil out to 66 mpg or so. (I might have that wrong).
Call Honda or Toyota customer service and tell them you want to buy a 1.0 liter, 70hp conventional car, or a 50 realworld-mpg Fit with the Insight hybrid drivetrain. First automaker to bring it on gets your business.
Credit crunch, housing collapse, $4/gallon gasoline. They have the cars. Demand that they sell them by waiting/boycotting.
#1580 of 2152 Prius Delivery in NJ
Jun 07, 2008 (8:21 pm)
For those who are interested in more buying experience info and pricing data...
I ordered a silver "standard" style (the lowest priced style) from Galaxy Toyota in Eatontown, NJ on May 10. I was told there would be a 4-6 week wait until it arrived. I got it yesterday (June 6), which was one day short of 4 weeks. Here is the price breakdown:
MSRP - 21,500
Carpet Floor Mats - 199
Destination Charge - 660
Dealer Prep Stuff (pinstripe, wheel well covers, some other stuff I've forgotten) - 50
7% Sales Tax - 1568.63
NJ Tire Fee - 7.50
Registration Title Fee - 57.50
Documentary Fee - 209
Online Registration Fee - 8.30
There were a couple points where we were able to negotiate. Even though I didn't want any of the Dealer Prep stuff, they said they were under contract to Toyota to provide it. The starting price I was quoted for that was $450, so even though I didn't want it at all, I guess $50 is not too bad. Plus they do some ID number window etching for vehicle protection as a standard practice, but I said I didn't want that either. So even though the car came with it, they did not charge me the normal $189 for that.
I had done an internet inquiry and talked with a couple of other area dealers who made it sound like it was impossible to even get the "standard" style. When I went into Galaxy in person, they worked with me to get me what I wanted. And based on what I've seen here and from what I heard from the other dealers I talked to, I think the price I paid was reasonable given the demand for this vehicle. At least I hope so.
Based on my experience in buying this Prius, I would recommend Galaxy Toyota and the salesman and sales manager I worked with, Asad Kahn and Mike Kelerher.
BTW, when we picked up the car last night, they told us that there is now a 4 month wait at that dealership to receive a Prius after ordering it. They are only allocated 2 or 3 a month. I'm glad I ordered mine when I did!
#1581 of 2152 Prius delivered in DC area
Jun 08, 2008 (5:07 am)
I put down my $500 deposit on Memorial Day and received mine (base + Package #5) in Metallic Gray on Friday, June 6 from Darcars in Silver Spring. I was expecting to wait *at least* 4 weeks, maybe more, so I was pleasantly surprised. My salesman was Joe - friendly guy and not intimidating (esp to a first time new car buyer). Here's the breakdown:
MSRP - 22475
Package #5 - 5280 - 2000 (extra value package discount) = 3280
Glass Breakage Sensor - 165
Wheel Locks - 67
Accessory Package (Floor mats, cargo mat and net, first aid kit) - 279
Destination Charge - 660
Dealer Prep - 100
Extended Warranty (7/750000) - 1845
MD Tax - 1591.56
Registration Title Fee - 237
Good luck everyone!
#1582 of 2152 Re: Why Prius??? [bob104]
Jun 08, 2008 (7:26 am)
Gasoline could go to any price whatever in any time whatever. $10/gallon by next summer is by no means inconceivable. They pay that in Europe--why not here?
The main reason for higher gas prices in Europe is their extra taxes. Their Euro itself goes further than the American greenback in buying $140/barrel oil.
...... an 08 Prius will lose less value than any new car you can buy today.
You could be right, but it remains to be seen what the future lithium battery will do to the resale of today's hybrids.