Questions for Prius owners, please.

This newsgroup recently showed up on Supernews and I'm very interested in the technology, if not the car.
Several things trouble me about owning hybrids and I'd like to find out
from current owners what they've learned about a few topics.....
1 - I recently read Toyota is moving on to a newer/better/more geewhiz hybrid. What have they told you, promised you, contracted for with you, to service and provide parts for the car after production stops and Toyota loses interest? In other words, where are we gonna buy any of these VERY model-specific parts in 2012? Autozone isn't going to have anything.
I have a friend with a 2003 Prius and have driven his around a bit, without the dealer hypist aboard. I was shocked to find someone here posted the cost of a battery at $10,000. I thought it was closer to $3,000. NiMH batteries DO, dispite one taxicab driver's experience, fail. I have hundreds powering electronics and tools and they fail.
2 - Have any of you found any external-to-Toyota mechanic even vaguely interested in Prius service-after-the-dealer?
My Prius just died 4 miles N of Santee, SC, on I-95, on my way to West Palm Beach. Do I press the OnStar button on the navigation display and a Prius Repair Facility rolls up an hour later? It's bad enough getting my 1973 Mercedes 220Diesel fan belt replaced in the boonies. It's available at any Autozone but roadside mechanics are terrified of anything "foreign", to them at least. I can just see all of them shaking their heads peering into the guts of a dead Prius.
3 - With the dealerships playing games, like the BMW Mini, holding back cars on some obscure lot to get MSRP...OR MORE...out of panting Prius buyers, what's the resale black book look like on the oldest Prius in the country? Anyone know anything about depreciation on them, yet? Twenty Grand is a lot to lose in 4 years. I'm also, once again, concerned about Toyota "moving on" and dumping the Prius for greener (no pun) pastures. Jap companies have a long, proud history of dumping customers on their asses as soon as the warranty book is filled. Case in point in my own business....If you have a $25,000 Technics F5 theatre organ in your living room you did without to pay for, be informed Technics is GONE and Matsushita/Panasonic, who owned Technics, has AMNESIA when your organ technician (me) calls them for BRAND-SPECIFIC parts, like proprietary 720K floppy drives, all the cards that can't be repaired because the PROPRIETARY ICs on them are just GONE! If word ever got out Toyopet dumped them, your Prius and mine would be worth diddly squat, like a GM diesel car.
This is no flamejob from some teenager. I'm 58 and WAS a GM diesel owner who had to give it away from its history. (1980) I'm still a happy diesel owner, however. 1973 Mercedes 220D (frame-off restoration, complete) and a 1983 Mercedes 300TD turbo-diesel wagon. The HEAVY 220D gets 34 mpg and you CAN survive being driven over by a Ford Exploder Maniac...
Very cautiously optimistic Larry
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That's the 2004 Prius.

The same place we're going to buy 2003 Camry parts in 2012.

Prius does not have OnStar. You call the 800 number from your cell phone, and Toyota will send a tow truck.
Eventually, manufacturers stop making repair parts for things, no matter what those things are.
--
Stop Mad Cowboy Disease: Vote for John Kerry.

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Yes, but I can buy a fuel pump for a 1983 Toyota Cressida at Autozone or any of a dozen other after-market auto parts places, even though Toyota want's nothing to do with the old Cressida. And, Smiley's Auto and Tire doesn't hesitate to put her on the lift to install it, either.
I don't think that will be available for the oddball hybrid cars that are 12 years old and abandoned by the company....rendering them priceless, as in junk.
It's a point that must be considered with $20,000 in the pot.
Larry
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I'm fairly sure that standard parts are use wherever they can be used. And the way gas prices are going, I'm sure that hybrids will be with us for a very long time.
Oh, as for the 800 number (from another reply to your initial message), it is the same number and service offered for all Toyotas that have this service. I've had to use similar services with a VW and with an Acura, and the response time is dependent upon the distance the tow truck has to travel.
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1983, hmm... didn't the Cressida start in 1980 or 1981? btw I am not contradicting you, just adding. Thanks

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The 5 K's ... Kerry, Kooks, Koons, Kweers and Kikes. -----------
wrote:

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I think you mean just three Ks, all in a row. Enjoy your next cross burning.
--
Mike Rosenberg
<http://www.macconsult.com Macintosh consulting services for NE Florida
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On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 12:23:20 -0700, Michelle Steiner
Michelle, you are going to have to learn not to hold back like this.. You are going to have to one day, fully express your feelings you know... :)
(Btw... YTBSFAM... your comments were fully deserved by the poster they were directed at...)
--

Cheers..

Mag
The Art Of Sound Studios
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Yeah, I know. I'm working at it.

What's YTBSFAM? I can't parse that one out.
Oh, and what brings you over here from the cox.* newsgroups?
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On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 00:48:14 -0700, Michelle Steiner

Yupo.. should have been.. JTBSFAM (Just to be serious for a moment)

Someone asked me if there was a prob with posting to this group.. (They were not seeing any new posts..)
--

Cheers..

Mag
The Art Of Sound Studios
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* You just bought the bitbucket -- you ignorant juvenile shithead.
earle *
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Good questions Larry. Here is a stab at some answers. I have a 2001 Prius.
wrote:

The new hybrid gizmo is supposed to be better than the old (more mpg, more power) and more easily adapted for more car models. With Toyota announcing more models being added to the hybrid lineup (Highlander, Lexus SUV) , I doubt Toyota will lose interest anytime soon. At least we hope so.

I think that price is a bit exagerrated. I also heard/saw like $3000. We have a ten, or is it eight, year warrantee on the battery and electric system. If it does crap out before that, Toyota should replace it for just the cost of labor I think.

Haven't had to go to a non-dealer yet. We get 3 years full coverage. I just went past the 3 years, so I will probably have to find a mechanic one of these days.

We got a card with an 800 number to call if we have problems. Toyota is supposed to send a tow truck to take it to an authorized repair facility, whatever that may be. If it breakdowns in the boonies, I imagine it will be a pain to deal with.

Just did a Kelly Blue Book retail value on mine. It came up with $15,965. I paid $21,400. So it lost $5440 after 3 years.
I have not heard of any price gouging in my area. In fact, we ordered ours at the time from the Toyota web site while at the dealer.
Ford is releasing a hybrid Escape next year. Toyota had an article that mentioned that Ford is using some of Toyota's patents for the hybrid technology. Wonder if that will mean some of the electric parts would be compatible between Ford and Toyota?

As I said above, good questions. Nice to see someone doing some research.
I guess I feel I was taking a risk by getting one of these new technology cars. Co-workers were surprised I got one of the first model year cars. But I'm glad I did it. No regrets. I love the car. I consistantly get 46 mpg without trying. I can bump that up a few if I try. I live in southern California and the hills don't let me get the max mpg the hybrid is capable of. We have a minivan that we will replace next year. The decision will be to get the Toyota Highlander hybrid or the Ford Escape hybrid.
A MAJOR problem with the Toyota hybrids is that they aren't available at the dealers. You have to order one and wait from 3-9 months, depending on your location. I waited 3 months for mine back in 2001. Toyota just didn't plan too well on the popularity and isn't making them fast enough.

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And I'd like to thank you for your time answering them in this very helpful manner. I've talked to a few local owners and they are so proud of the cars they get mad if you ask silly questions like these. I get the feeling they'd like to not think about them.

I walked up to the parts counter at the local dealership and tried to buy one. The redneck behind the counter thought I must be crazy. He didn't have one, but promised I could get one "in a few days". When I asked what the price was, he said he didn't know and acted like he didn't have it in his parts computer on the desk in front of us.

Have any of you tested this 800 number to see what their response would be? I'd have called it, told them I was 4 miles N of Santee with a dead battery and asked how soon they could get to me, to give them a realtime scenario to work with. Then, when the response call came in, I'd have told them to cancel the call, "We found a loose plug in the trunk".
I tried to get Dave to do that, but he was chicken...(c;

That's truly amazing for ANY Japanese car....or any new car for that matter. With the dealers playing holdback, you'd probably be able to sell it in a heartbeat from a simple newspaper ad.

Wouldn't that be nice.....standardized parts.....

Thank you to those of you buying new cars. I haven't bought a new car since I got jammed by GM in 1980. My last car purchase is sitting outside my house. I bought it from a bank president in 1992 for $3800. It was his wife's 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300TD station wagon in mint condition. It has every available option, right down to the hydraulic suspension system that adjusts the car's ride, mechanically with high-pressure fluids, depending on the load and the road. I've spent around $1500 repairing it in the last 200,000 miles, beyond the simple 3000 mile diesel oil changes. In 1998, a kid pulled out of a theatre parking lot and I broadsided his Ford, tearing up the driver's door but not hurting him. His fault. Nationwide paid me $4400 to have the sheet metal straightened and the front bumper replaced. You can hardly tell where the car was damaged. So, I'm actually in PROFIT territory with the car. It owes me nothing.
My other car is a frame-off restored 1973 Mercedes Benz 220D two-tone sedan. It's a blazing 57 HP through its 4-speed automatic, just tearing the tread off the tires. I show it at local car shows and have a few trophies. A commercial taxi vehicle, it's the finest car I've ever owned. I will probably be buried in it...(c;

It's called a "holdback". BMW dealers played the same game as long as it lasted with the little Mini cars, whos popularity suddenly waned and we were swamped with cars, as if by magic. All the car companies play this game. Remember when you couldn't find a PT Cruiser for sale? They had tons of them, but held them back trying to milk the money from the new toy as long as possible to hold the MSRP prices up. My neighbor got one of their retro faux woody wagons 3 months ago. They were begging and bargaining to get her to buy it, now. It will happen with Prius, just like all the rest, sooner or later.
Thank you again for the chat. I initially hesitated to ask because I saw some of the usual Usenet gang wars on the thread, but now I'm glad I did.
Larry W4CSC Charleston, SC where Prius just LOVES our table-flat terrain...(c;
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