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Toyota Reins in Dealers Taking Deposits for Plug-Ins

Toyota has curtailed the practice by two of its dealers of taking deposits for the future plug-in hybrid Prius.

Felix Kramer of CalCars reports that Magnussen’s Toyota of Palo Alto (California), the dealer that had taken deposits from several dozen customers for the future PHEV (earlier post):

...heard from HQ that since there’s no announced timetable for production of vehicles, it didn’t make sense for Magnussen to keep deposits (even if they were refundable). The deposits will be returned and the dealer has instead begun a waiting list.

One other dealer, Toyota San Luis Obispo, had also begun taking deposits. In a post on the Toyota blog, Irv Miller, Group Vice President, Corporate Communications wrote:

Although we hope some day to sell plug-in hybrids to retail customers, the only thing we have announced is that we will place several hundred plug-in Prius vehicles in commercial fleets by the end of next year.

As much as we want to speed the latest hybrid technology to the public, we have vowed as a company to not release new systems until they are reliable and ready for everyday use. One of the best ways to help ensure that is through rigorous testing in fleets that do a tremendous amount of driving in all types of weather and road conditions.

...So, while we applaud Magnussen’s excitement about our future Prius plug-in, we want to be clear that we have not announced a timetable for retail sales.

Comments

Bike Commuter Dude

None of that stopped Tesla...

sjc

If the cars are not delivered in the short term, the deposits would have to be returned. That might not be good for the corporate image at Toyota, so I can understand this.

Ford could make a big move by making the Escape hybrid and hopefully a Fusion hybrid plug upgradable. You could buy the packs from Ford or an after market company, but that option might sell cars. First Ford has to get the production of the Escape hybrid up and I see no signs of that yet.

Elliot

Yeah, but the reputation of EV's doesn't rest on Tesla's shoulders alone. EV's already have a bad rap from ugly little cars like Zap, they can only help, even with the problems they've had. Plus they're more for show than reliability, for which Tesla has no reputation.

Toyota popularized the hybrid, so really it's Toyota and Honda's baby. If Toyota had, say, transmission problems on the level that Tesla did with this PHEV Prius, it'd slow sales drastically, and maybe hinder them all together.

That said, they need to hurry the hell up.

sjc

It could be argued that if you have a limited supply of batteries, they do more good in more HEVs, than fewer PHEVs or BEVs. One million HEVs could do more to reduce oil imports, clean the air and reduce demand for gasoline than 100,000 PHEVs or 10,000 BEVs.

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