New 2010 Toyota Prius In High Demand

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We got a lot of guff for stating that the Toyota Tundra was in high demand last week, so let’s be clear this time when we say “high demand.” Toyota can sell the new 2010 Toyota Prius as fast as they can make them. That’s called “demand” – we think this demand is “high” because most Toyota dealers have few or no Prius in stock.

Toyota is selling as many Prius as they build - we think that's called "high demand."

Toyota is selling as many Prius as they build - we think that's called "high demand."

This is the same rationale that we used to state that Tundra demand was high…hopefully it won’t be confusing this time. Check out the stories below:

Some U.S. Toyota dealers are marking up new Prius over sticker. This is a crazy story – the new Prius is so hot right now (largely as a result of a Cash for Clunkers inspired rush) that some metro Detroit Toyota dealers are demanding “market adjustments” of $2k to $10k dollars above sticker. There are reports of other dealers across the country doing the same thing on some popular Prius forums.

While Toyota doesn’t specifically “ban” this practice, they do often withhold inventory from dealers that engage in this practice. Here’s to hoping that dealers who mark-up cars above sticker lose their allocations.

Many Toyota dealers have pre-sold Priuses for months out. A quick informal survey of Denver metro Toyota dealers reveals that most incoming Toyota Prius have been pre-sold. According to one local dealership employee, “the best chance at a Prius is to hope someone is stupid enough to cancel their order.” We were told the current wait time for a new 2010 Prius was 2 weeks to 5 months, depending on the package and features we wanted.

Toyota is selling the Prius like crazy in Japan. The Japanese market can’t get enough of the Prius either. According to a Rueters report:

[Toyota's] Prius hybrid was Japan’s best-selling car in July for the second straight month, but customers placing orders have to wait about eight months before getting their cars due to strong demand and a shortage of batteries

Toyota’s sales in Japan are up so much that they’ve decided to temporarily increase production.

Toyota is searching high and low for battery manufacturers. Evidently, the bottleneck in Prius production is batteries. With the model selling so well in North America and Japan, Toyota is trying hard to find new sources of battery production. Despite Toyota’s joint-venture relationship with Panasonic, they’ve asked Sanyo for help producing batteries.

Bottom Line: If you managed to buy a 2010 Prius since the model debuted, count yourself lucky. While it’s likely true that Prius demand would cool if Toyota managed to increase production, there’s no denying that consumers want the new Prius.

Of course, that’s what we said about the Tundra last week, so let the nay-saying begin!

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  1. TXTee says:

    Thanks for the story, J. I guess no one wants the Prius that badly on the site or slams small car market. Big truck = big ego??

  2. Brian says:

    Drove past the local dealership today…slim pickins’ for a Prius, but saw about 15 new Tundras. Is production up? Also saw about 30-40 Yaris. IMO Yaris or Corolla makes more financial sense than a Prius. I think a lot of people are in love with the idea of a Hybrid rather than overall cost savings. Obviously a Corolla or Yaris is cheaper initially and also will not require a new $2500 battery in 8-10 years (or so). Seems more ecnomical to me, but I tend to keep cars for longer than the average American and am not yet convinced of the hybrid hype. Here’s a quick breakdown of the math:

    Corolla: $15,000 26mpg city annual fuel cost: approx. $1450 (assumes 15k miles annually..all city)

    Prius: $22,000 51 mpg city annual fuel cost: approx. $735 (assumes 15k miles annually…all city)

    Annual saving is $700 a year in fuel costs of Prius over Corolla. Prius costs $7000 more than Corolla = 10 years to recoup cost of Prius under harshest driving conditions of all city. Then, you will likely need to buy a new battery which means you are negative again. Sorry, even with tax credits from Uncle Sugar it doesn’t make good financial sense to me. Anyone else have thoughts?

  3. tmac says:

    ya dude i gotta agree with u there strictly speaking from a financial point of view, wich is all most of us can afford to do these days, the hybrid doesn’t make a whole lotta sense.
    Kinda reminds me of a diesel in that sense….

  4. TXTee – You bet. I haven’t seen any of the usual haters lately…hopefully we didn’t chase them off! :-)
    Brian – Right on – I agree 100%. Financially, they make less sense than a Corolla…yet people love them. What a country!
    tmac – Agreed. A log of greenies hate diesel, but they don’t have a good reason as to why.

  5. TXTee says:

    Overall, I love the Corolla’s look and history. Yaris and Prius are uber-ugly and I just can’t roll like that. Now if someone gave one of them to me for free, I wouldn’t complain!

  6. Brian says:

    TXTee – Agree 100%…Yaris, Prius, and anything with Scion on the front of it…what was Toyota thinking?!?

  7. TXTee says:

    Oh the whole Scion thing was to target a younger age group and I would say it failed big time. It didn’t capture my attention at all to drive a box on 4 wheels that I used to draw when I was 4. The Scion xC looks like a nice little coupe but the price was too high.

  8. I don’t like the tC’s generic handling and performance. It’s hard to get excited about a sports coupe that drives like Gramma’s Camry.

  9. Brian says:

    Supra…now that was a car you could get excited about…inline 6, twin turbos, 6 speed trans (insert Tim Allen grunt here). Even Celica was better than the tC. Toyota needs to bring back those classics to re-inspire the base customers, and stop selling those ugly Scions. That (insert explicative of choice) may work in Japan and Europe, but not here! Well, maybe in California, but that’s it!

  10. mk says:

    Totally agree with buying a Corolla over a Prius. I paid 16300 for an 2009 Corolla LE and believe it or not, mostly hwy. driving up and down hills going 61 mph usually, we have avg. mpg. of 36.5 to 37.5 mpg consistently for 5K miles. A prius may get 50 mpg hwy., but the 7K diff. in price is not worth it and like you said, would take 10 years to recoupe mpg. savings over initial cost and by then in 10 years, the batteries need replacing at 2-4K cost probably. I did notice however during one hot week using the air conditioning driving hwy. all the time, my mpg. that week dropped to about 30 mpg and I could not believe the drop that much in mpg. I guess the A/C must use tons of power from that little 1.8L engine on the corolla unlike what all the experts say that rolling down the windows uses about the same mpg. as running the A/C. I proved that was a myth.

  11. Brian – Word. Here’s to hoping the new Celica (the Subaru-Toyota sports car) is a kick in the pants.

  12. mk – Good work man – I agree with your logic completely. That MPG difference from A/C is pretty big, but I’ve read that it doesn’t take much to change mileage in a smaller motor, so I guess that could make sense.

  13. Brian says:

    mk – I have the same Toyota 1.8L I-4 in my Vibe, and I average 29-31 mpg. I don’t see any difference with or w/o the A/C. I DID notice a difference last winter in the upper Midwest. Those long warm-ups with an open loop slammed my fuel mileage down to 22…in a 4 banger with no A/C on and no windows open! Just my experience…

  14. mk says:

    Brian, interesting that the 1.8L in the Vibe gets that much worse mpg than the corolla basically same engine. I drive mostly hwy. 90% of the time going 61 mph with some hills in the country in WI and getting consistently 37 mpg unless I use A/C down to 30 mpg, but you say w/ or w/o A/C does not make a difference, doesn’t make sense to me at all. If I get this winter like you getting 22mpg in WI winters on the 1.8L, I might as well drive the tundra at 17 mpg. A/C on the corolla 4 cylinder really makes the engine labor more uphills especially and a little less pep (if you can call it that) off the line from a stop. My tundra 5.7L maybe gets 1 mpg less running A/C and really no measurable difference in power or mpg really. Go big V8. I’d be curious what the wimpy Prius 1.5L or like a Honda Fit 1.5L get mpg wise A/C on vs. off consistently for a full tank of gas driving as normal. I could ask my geeky preppy neighbor who has three underpowered 4 cylinder 2010 Honda Fit, 2006 Toyota Prius, and 2007 Honda CRV. He doesn’t seem to think any of the vehicles are underpowered, yet he has not driven a tundra and would probably kill himself stepping on the gas.

  15. Brian says:

    mk – The Vibe and Matrix are rated at far lower mpg due to the added weight of the wagon style and the increased drag the wagon creates. I also have the automatic (for my wife to drive as well) which drives down feul efficiency. It still does well in my book…I sold a Ford Explorer getting 16 mpg when I bought it in ’05 right after Katrina (when the gas first began to get expensive). I was surprised, too, when I was going through gas so much last winter. Although I only had a 3 1/2 mile journey to work, so I barely got it warmed up when I got to work or home making the mileage worse. Even on days when I drove across town, it still took 10-15 miles to warm up in single digit temps…not fun! I’m back in the south now and am enjoying improved gas mileage once again. I can get as high as 33 mpg at 75 mph…not as good as your Corolla, but I love the look and function of the wagon so its worth it to me. Hope you do better in those frigid WI winters! :-)

  16. TXTee says:

    Wow you mean you had the nerve to actually jump in and test drive the xC? I never got that far after the sticker price. Maybe I’ll get bored tomorrow and go waste a salesman’s time. With my luck I’ll go test drive the newer Highlander and end up trading mine so let me stay away from there. Anyway, interesting to see the MPG decreases on the smaller cars due to A/C or heat…..but you must admit anything over 30 MPG is still d*mn good.

  17. Mickey says:

    You got it since you asked for it…… Yes my wife has an 07 Prius. She gets an avg of 55-64mpg. She drives 35 miles one way to work. Now Toyota warranty is 8 years on the battery. You’re banking the battery will go out then. That could be said the same for all warranty on the Corolla at 36,000 miles. You do your maintenance on your vehicle it will last alot longer than you think. Paid $28,000 for a type 6. Which means it has all options in it. Leather, Nav, Reverse Cam, etc. Like now we had to basically order it in July 07. The wife researched it and found 4 Prius type 6 in slate color in JAX. This was Saturday morning. We went to 4 dealerships before we found one on the lot to test drive. No one had one. The only reason this one was there was that it was ordered and sold. We took it for a test drive and the salesman blew a gasket to the rookie salesman we had. I immediately told the Sales Manager he will lose two deals by the way that got acted. I don’t buy any vehicle without test driving one. So we had the dealership order it through the port authority to get it. Toyota held a tight grip on Prius’s. We didn’t get her car until that following Wednesday and online they had only 2 left. She was worried. It was also a joke with us because we went there to buy a Prius and left in a Tundra. They promised it on Monday and it didn’t get there till Wednesday. For the delay they gave me in the Tundra XM installed. So again I made out on her demise. SO back in 07 Toyota controlled the output of Prius’s and I only seen it this year that the dealers may have 2 or 3 on the lot. These are 09’s not 10’s. Also I could go for the solar part too. What’s not mention here is how many of you out there have generators to run in an emergency? I can use my Prius for that.

  18. TXTee – I used to sell the damn things! :-)

  19. TXTee says:

    Ahhh understood, Jason! I haven’t been to waste anyone’s time yet but the truck needs an oil change so maybe I can pass time in an xC and suck up some dealer A/C….it’s freakin hot here. It’ll be interesting to see how many Priuses and Tundras are on the lot since it’s the largest dealership in the Houston area.

  20. erik says:

    I really don’t care for the look’s on the Prius I think all body styles on this car are very much lame or weird looking. If I purchased I another Hybrid it would be the Camry like My friend has in Tenn. I like his Camry because it has a nice profile to it and good looking.

  21. Mickey says:

    Erik it doesn’t have to look good but be aerodynamic. Which is what the Prius is. I do agree about the looks but it does it’s job and quite well I may add. My wife still ranges from upper 50’s to low 60’s mpg. That’s hard to compete with.

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