“Why do you want a Toyota Prius?”

We’ve posted a few articles over the course of the last two months about how “Hot” Prius sales have been for DaveSellsCars and Avondale Toyota.  And Like ’em, Love ’em or Hate ’em, 1st quarter sales of  Prii are UP 50% over last years numbers for Toyota!

The increase in sales of Prii (remember, “Prii” is the official plural form for Prius 🙂 ) has been great for Toyota and the customers that now own a new Prius.  However,  prospective Prius buyers will face a couple of tough obstacles as they look for and attempt to buy their new Prius.

This makes the title of today’s post, “Why do you want a Prius?” a very necessary question.

Demand for Prii has gone up – right along with gas prices.  Normally this would be one of those “Aint no thang for a playa” moments for Toyota and Prius production would be turned up to handle demand.  Unfortunately, Toyota (along with the rest of the Asian Auto industry) had a major production set back when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.  The result has been waiting lists and “Market adjustments” to sticker prices on Prii.   If you aren’t sure what a “market adjustment” is read this previous postWhat’s Your Trade-In Worth – Part II – Clearing the Smoke

If the “market adjustment” being charged by some dealers in the Phoenix area, isn’t enough to cause people to pause and ask “Why doI want a Prius?”…  The lack of availability should.  The funny thing is, “Why do You Want a Toyota Prius?” is a fair and relevant question that every car sales person should ask their Prius clients – no matter what the market availability is.

When I ask a client, “Why do you want a Prius?” I expect one of a couple different answers.  “To save money on gas.” or “Because their better for the environment.”  the later of which is often coupled with “and I’ll save money on gas.” I know. I know…  Where is the big news in that? Right?

Well, the “BIG NEWS” is that the Prius wasn’t designed to save people money on gas.

It was designed to have a reduced reliance on fossil fuel and to produce less emissions.  Saving money on gas is simply a by-product.

And while I’m a big fan of the Prius and can point out many solid reasons to own one, I feel, my clients deserve to hear that there may be a couple of practical alternatives to consider. Depending on how they answer the question, “Why do You Want a Prius?”

If “Saving money” dominates the answer, then we must take a REAL look at the numbers.

Right now we have a Prius II, here at Avondale Toyota, for a price of $24230.  And it comes with all that you would expect from a Prius and of course is rated for 51/48 mpg. which gives you an average of 49.5 mpg.

Seems fair enough, yes?   And it is!

However… If your main goal is to “save money“,  I have to tell you that you can save several thousand dollars and still get great mpg…

With a Yaris…

A what???

Yes, a Yaris.  And for a $7000+ savings in initial cost I would suggest that the Toyota Yaris deserves serious consideration.

The Yaris ranks high for all the normal Toyota reasons.  Click here to see the U.S. News review on the Yaris including J.D. Power’s analysis.  Otherwise you can take my word for it when I say it’s at the Top of the dependability charts.

It also gets 29/36 mpg. (avg 32)

Now… If you’re jumping up and down and pointing at your computer as you yell, “See!! What about the gas savings??!!” You need to get out more! 🙂

But let’s look at the Fuel rating difference and see what is really being saved.

First we have a price difference. Prius II is $24230 – Yaris with Automatic Transmission, A/C, power windows, cd player, etc…  is $16553 ($14938 for a base) So the Price difference is – uh… $7677!

Are you still thinking “What about the gas savings???”  Wow, you ARE tough.

Well here’s some more math.

Average mpg rating for the Prius is 49.5 mpg.

Average mpg rating for the Yaris is 32 mpg. (seem like a big difference? Bear with me)

That’s a difference of 17.5 mpg.  Seems like a lot, but let’s apply that to – cost of driving – for a better understanding.

In a Prius, it’ll cost $76.77 to drive 1000 miles if you pay $3.80 per gallon.

In a Yaris, it’ll cost $118.75. (same distance and cost of fuel)

Click here to see how I calculated this.

So, to drive 1000 miles it will cost $41.98 more in the Yaris than it will in the Prius.

The average Arizonan drives 15000 miles per year. So, 15 x $41.98= $629.70

See where I’m going with this yet?  Are we still wondering about the gas savings?

I hope not.  Because it’ll take 12.19 years to recuperate the difference in price via “gas savings”.

Does this mean that the Prius is anything less than a phenominal automobile?  Absolutely not.

Does it mean that if you’ve been thinking of trading your gas guzzler for a Prius in order to get some relief from soaring fuel costs and find that Prii are hard to find that you have some really good options?

Absolutely – YES

Ahhh a “Yaris is too small” you say?  Check this out…

2011 Toyota Corolla – $18530 (nicely loaded) Prius II/Corolla price difference = $5700 Fuel usage difference per year = $657.9  So, $5700/657.9 = 8.66 years to make up the difference in fuel savings!


Now, if you’re looking for a car, truck or suv and your sales person hasn’t helped you with this kind of information… Don’t you think they should?

Click here to Contact Dave

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2 Responses to ““Why do you want a Toyota Prius?””

  1. Zach Streeter July 25, 2011 at 2:19 am // Reply

    David helped me buy my first car. It was so easy, I came in he showed me exactly what I was looking for and BOOM! It was done. Recently my fiancee wanted a new car. Well I remembered how great the service was with david and I thought why not give him a call. Once again we came in there wanting a prius for her, he found one and sent us on our way.(with the car of course) I definately recommend anyone that is looking to buy a car, to go to avondale toyota and ask for David he is very kind and helpful and will get you what you’re looking for. Thanks again David!!

    Your friend,


    • David Lovelady July 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm // Reply

      You are welcome Zach!

      For those of you that check out these comments, I have to fill in a little info on Zach’s experience buying his first car.

      Before arriving at Avondale Toyota and meeting me, Zach and his family had been to several other used car dealers. It’s my understanding that the experiences they had and the treatment they recieved was, let’s say, less than desireable. (Imagine that, being treated poorly at a car dealership!) So, for sure, by the time I met Zach – He and his family were tired of dealing with car dealers!

      This makes my task a bit tougher in some ways, especially when I initally meet someone here at the store.

      However, if permitted, I can usually show my clients that Avondale Toyota is uniquely diffent in very important and good ways. And it’s customers like Zach that keep our store humming right along. Repeat and referrals make up the majority of our client base. So…

      Thank You Zach!


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