Our Point of View: The Plug-in Prius: Waiting is the Hardest Part for Dealers and Customers

August 29, 2008

by Irv Miller

There’s a lot of excitement these days among our customers and dealers about plug-in hybrid vehicles. Earlier this week, Toyota’s Global President, Katsuaki Watanabe, announced that we are moving up our timetable from 2010 to early 2009 to deliver test Prius plug-in hybrids to commercial fleet customers in the United States and other parts of the world.
 
A lot of people can’t wait to try them, so it’s understandable that one of our dealers created some confusion recently by taking deposits on future Prius plug-in hybrids.

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.

Magnussen’s Toyota in Palo Alto, California was doing what we’ve always encouraged our dealers to do...to listen carefully to their customers and try to meet their needs. Being so close to Silicon Valley, the dealership was getting lots of requests from customers who wanted to buy a plug-in Prius. And since the dealership had confidence Toyota would eventually deliver a great vehicle, they thought it would be a good idea to take deposits and make customers happy.

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

Believe me, Toyota will get there as soon as we can. It just may not happen as quickly as we’d all like it to happen. In the meantime, we’re very proud that Magnuessen’s Toyota intends to return the deposits it has collected from customers hoping to be the first to buy a plug-in Prius. Soon, we hope they will be able to call those customers back and offer them the real thing.
 
Originally published on the Toyota Open Road blog on August 29, 2008.
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Corrine Marie Padilla said...
Just a compliment about a Prius Comm. I must say the Prius commercial is absolutely wonderful and so very unique. Although I understand it is intended to sell that beauty Prius; it occured to me it can represent a diverse and unified world. It really is a beautiful message and well done. I really do hope this is being sent in the correct area, if not I would greatly appreciate the person reading this forward this compliment to correct department. Please know I never take out time to do something like this, however it just really moved me and I wanted Toyota and the resonsible department to know what a beautiful job they did. Thank you for your time with this Corrine Padilla of Milford DE
6/2/09 at 12:00 AM

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