Would-Be Toyota Prius Prime Buyers Reporting Problems With Ordering & Dealers

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Despite earlier assumptions that the new plug-in electric Toyota Prius Prime would be available nationwide, there have been numerous reports in recent days that those outside of California are having trouble ordering one. And even sometimes that these would-be-buyers are being told that the model won’t be sold outside of California.

This situation came to my attention through an article posted on Green Car Reports, which also features comments from Toyota’s East Coast Communications Manager that make it clear that the Toyota Prius Prime is available nationwide — as previously reported.

So, what’s the story here? Simply dealer salespeople not knowing what they’re talking about? Not wanting to explain a concurred situation, so oversimplifying? A change in company plans? (By the way, we have more coming on this topic regarding Toyota as well as other brands.)

Green Car Reports provides more:

After three separate complaints by readers in different areas of the US, we dug into how Toyota has communicated with its dealers on the 2017 Prius Prime. …

On December 1, well after 781 Prius Primes were sold the previous month, one buyer walked into Dunning Toyota in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“My Toyota dealer told me that they’d heard Toyota would not sell Prius Prime anywhere in the US other than California and New York,” that reader wrote. “She said they were told not to expect any Primes in any foreseeable time frame.”

Then, in late December, we received the following message from a buyer who’d inquired about the Prius Prime at a dealer in the Dallas area. Here’s what that dealer told him:

“The Prius Prime will not be sold by Gulf States Toyota distributor in any of their five-state market. That covers Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. (The company) will not stock their dealers or allow orders to be taken. Those orders already taken with deposits are canceled and the deposits are to be refunded.”

Finally, a third reader wrote just last week: “When I asked about the Prius Prime at the Toyota dealer in Pueblo, Colorado, two salesmen solemnly assured me that it was only for sale in California.”

“They gave me that ‘Oh, sure’ look when I told them that was not the case,” he added.

These situations stand in contrast to the official line from Toyota that the Prius Prime is available nationwide — though, with most stock initially going to ZEV states (mostly California and Oregon, apparently). As time goes by, shipments to states where lower sales are expected will pick up, reportedly.

What’s interesting, though, is that the company apparently didn’t let dealers in non-ZEV states know until very recently that shipments of the Prime were on the way, according to Toyota’s East Coast communications manager, Corey Proffitt. However, the company did reportedly let dealers know that nationwide sales were the plan as long ago as April 2016.

Not too surprising. If the dealers in question don’t know when they’re able to get Prius Primes, it seems natural that some of them would just say that they aren’t and can’t. I wonder how common it is, though? Have any of you reading this had similar experiences?

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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