Well, it didn’t work out exactly as expected, but I now have a new 2007 Prius, and got an awesome deal on it.


(More photos from today.)

Last Monday, I went down to Carson City Toyota to buy a new Prius. It turns out it had actually been sold that morning, but the Internet sales manager said she could easily get one by the end of the week. I put down $1000 and went home.

Throughout the week, as I read more, it sounded like the supply for Priuses was extremely low (despite what those commercials say), and most dealers didn’t want to do dealer transfers on the ones they had left. I was beginning to doubt CC Toyota could get one. I called on Thursday, and she said nobody had responded yet.

Friday, I called Auburn Toyota (Auburn, California is about 2 hours away from Reno) and left a message for their Internet Sales guy, John. He had emailed me a quote earlier in the week, but for the wrong package.

On Saturday morning, he called back. He said there was one #5 left, and quoted me $1000 below MSRP. Score! Then we started talking about trade-ins. I mentioned I had a 2002 Prius with 80k miles on it, and it had some paint and dashboard damage, but the body and engine were great. He said I should have no problem getting $10k for it. Double score! (Going into this, I said to myself I would accept as low as $8k for it.) The only problem was the car was white. While white is pretty, it’s hard to keep clean. Still, it was now or never (well, at least now or 6-12 months from now). I said I’d be down in about 3 hours (it was about noon at that point).

I hopped in the shower, and when I got out, there was a message for me. I called John back, and he said he didn’t get to the car in time, and it was sold while we were talking. GAH. He said he’d look at neighboring dealerships and give me a call back in 15 minutes. When he called back, he said he only found one and put in an inquiry. BUT, they did have a #4 package on the lot, also in white. To refresh, #6 is everything, #5 (what I wanted) was everything but leather, #4 was everything but leather and nav system. I was going to probably pass on that until he gave me a quote: $1200 under MSRP. Nav would be a nice luxury, but $1200 savings is worth it. He said he already put a hold on the car, so it wouldn’t be taken. I told him I’d drive down, and if he heard back from the other dealership about the #5, I’d take that. Otherwise, I’d get the #4.

I left Reno at about 2PM after gathering some documents, and arrived in Auburn at about 3:45PM. No word yet on the #5, so I committed to the #4. The used car manager drove my car and offered $9500, lower than $10k because of the A/C vent damage. I had mentally prepared for that (I tried to explain the damage, but bet that they would underestimate it), so I agreed. $9500 is $1500 more than the low end of what I would have accepted.

I finalized terms with the F&I guy. John, the sales guy was totally laid back and easy to deal with. The F&I guy was your typical F&I salesman, using lame jokes and throwing papers around to make points, and whatnot. He got me for the extended warranty, but the fine print is pretty decent (it’s direct from Toyota), and it was “only” $1300 more. I didn’t get the undercoat protection or gap insurance or any of that crap. I wrote a Capital One Auto check (just over $16,000 IIRC, the receipt is still in my car). Mind you, this is for everything, minus $9550 trade-in, and WITHOUT tax. More on that later.

OK, it’s later. I could have drove off at that point, but I would have had to pay California tax, which is rather expensive. However, I could pay Nevada taxes instead, but only if I take delivery IN NEVADA. Auburn Toyota does enough Nevada sales that they have a system for dealing with this. They drive the car to just over the state line (actually, to West McCarran). There the driver and I go to a Mail Boxes Etc, sign a few forms saying I took delivery in Nevada, and get it notarized. However, the MBE closes at 5PM on Saturday, and we wouldn’t have been able to get there in time (indeed, it was about 6PM before I even left Auburn). So I drove back in my old car that night.

Sunday, at about noon, the driver and I met at the MBE, signed what needed to be signed, she gave me her keys, I gave her my keys, and I then had a new 2007 Prius.

The downside of this is I’ll have to pay all the taxes up-front, as opposed to rolling them into the financing if I would have bought from a Nevada dealership. But I’ll have to get the $1000 deposit back from Carson City Toyota, which will go toward that.