Tales of Flying to Buy A Prime and Driving Home?

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by Husker4theSpurs, Mar 5, 2021.

  1. Husker4theSpurs

    Husker4theSpurs Active Member

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    Hello again! Pretty much made the decision to fly and pick up a Prime sometime between now and the end of summer and drive it back to Nebraska. I thought it might be cool to have a thread where people share their experiences doing so. How did you decide on the dealer? How did you get to the dealer from the airport? Anything else you can think is pertinent to share. I was thinking I need to ask them to not put on a front license plate bracket as I go with a single plate here for an additional fee. Any other tips and suggestions to keep in mind?
     
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  2. ForestBeekeeper

    ForestBeekeeper Active Member

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    My dealership has insisted many times to me that they get whatever Toyota sends them. They have no say in what they can get. There is no choice in colors or other options. You simply get what you get.

    I would be curious if comparing multiple dealerships if there is any way to select colors or options.
     
  3. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Concerning the front plate, they aren't required in Pennsylvania. So the chance of getting one without a bracket might be more likely here. Though they might get installed before delivery, or the dealer installs for their advertising. The last car I bought new in PA was off the lot, and already had it on. Past two cars had the bracket screwed to the black plastic part of the bumper, and were easy to remove. Found plastic hole plugs that were close to the Sonic's black, and they just aren't that noticeable against the glossy black of the Camry.
     
  4. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    My wife has a thing for Camrys. She wanted a metal flake blue Camry with light blue leather seats in 1993. The dealer explained that most of those models were diverted to China where the combination had some cultural significance. There were no blue Camrys with leather in northern California. What the dealer did was to find a dealer in the Los Angeles area who had the car she wanted on order. This resulted in a 3 way trade that included a Sacramento dealer who wanted a truck that our dealer had.

    It only took four weeks for all three cars to make it to the right destinations. She drove the car for 15 years. There was a smear of paste wax on the door hinge so I teased her that the car was repainted at the dock.

    Dan
     
  5. kpbadger

    kpbadger Junior Member

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    Here's my story from October 2019. I live in Wisconsin and at the time there there were less than 5 new primes available within the state and there was no discount from any dealer. The two local dealers wouldn't budge on price.

    How I found the dealer: Using posts on this forum I knew that at the time the best deals were in Maryland, so I used Google to find all of the Toyota dealers in Maryland and bookmarked their search page -- where possible the exact query (Prius Prime Limited). From there I looked for the colors I wanted and came up with 4 cars that fit the bill. Then I filled out the quote form for those specific cars and within a day -- sometimes instantly -- I had the initial quotes. My wife really wanted the blue but that car was the second most expensive, so I negotiated with that dealership on their dealer discount and ultimately split the difference between the lowest quote and theirs. Here's a link to those details from my original post: Prius Prime - official prices paid thread.

    How I prepared: Before buying the plane ticket, I put down a $500 deposit with a credit card and had a signed quote emailed to me with all of the numbers, including what I would owe the day of (I paid cash). I confirmed, via the previously bookmarked search, that the car was no longer listed for sale on their website. I wrote a very detailed email with my expectations, e.g. the amount on the quote was what I would pay, I am not buying any extended warranties, there will be no subsequent dealer add-ons, and basically any other horror story I had heard here or otherwise. I also asked them about the logistics of titling the vehicle and they said they needed ID for everyone on the title, so I had a photocopy of my wife's driver license. I received an email acknowledgment from the salesman and his manager, and I hoped I was thorough enough. I had the VIN so I got the insurance arranged in advance as well. We set the date the next week and I bought the one-way plane ticket for the night before.

    Doing the deal: I had planned to take Uber/Lyft from the hotel to the dealer, but they called me the day before and offered their courtesy van. The salesman and driver picked me up at the hotel for the ~20 minute drive out to their dealership. Upon arrival the car was prepared and we took a test drive. I was happily surprised to find about 75% charge, so I got the chance to drive in both EV and HV mode. Then we went into the dealership where he had the manuals and paperwork available. Pretty much everything that was to be signed from the salesman had already been signed via email. I went back with the finance guy to hand over the check and officially sign all of the documents. He offered, and I declined, the various extras, and this was smooth. In the meantime the salesman drove the car over to the service department to have the reverse beep set to "once" rather than continuous. Within a couple hours of completing the test drive, I was on my way (with a state of Maryland temporary tag).

    Drive home: I had pre-planned the route (two day drive) and knew approximately how far I wanted to get the first day, but I didn't make any hotel reservations because I didn't know how tired I'd be. I had time to eat lunch at a crab cake place before leaving Baltimore, stop along the way for some sights, enjoy some restaurants that aren't near me (Waffle House, White Castle, etc.). Upon deciding that I was going to stay in the Dayton area that night, I looked on plugshare for hotels with charging stations and found one where charging was free, so I jumped on their app and made a reservation. I had not been looking forward to a 14 hour total drive, but in the end it was an enjoyable part of the journey in a part of the country I'd mostly only ever flown over.

    About 3 weeks after the deal, I still had not received paperwork from them about my Wisconsin registration, so I called them back up and learned that they normally use a bank, but since I had not financed, they still had my paperwork and really didn't know what to do with it. I asked them if they would just send me the "Certificate of Origin" and a refund for the money I'd paid them for registration, and after a little discussion (since this was not their normal practice) they realized that this was the best way to get rid of me. They sent that via FedEx and I went into the Wisconsin DMV the next day to title the car. Note that at no time was I asked to pay Maryland sales tax or registration fees, other than the temp tag.

    Despite my attempts to be thorough there were a few things I wish I had done differently:

    1. I should have been more insistent up front about the logistics of the title. The dealer admitted that they did not have electronic access to title the vehicle in Wisconsin, so I should have not paid them any money and instead driven home with the certificate of origin right from the start. Generally speaking, this advice means that you should figure out how the vehicle will be titled in your state, and make sure the dealer's state issues temporary tags if you need them. (Wisconsin does not provide the ability to title the vehicle in advance or electronically to the citizenry, but if they did, I could have flown with my existing license plates -- they are allowed through TSA -- and had them installed at the dealer.)

    2. I should have asked them in advance to disable the reverse beep so we didn't have to make that part up on the fly. The 2 hours I sat there could have been 1.5 hours had this been done in advance.

    3. Even though it worked out in the end, since I saved myself about $30 by not having to take Uber/Lyft to the dealership, I'd ask in advance about a courtesy ride to the dealer.

    4. I was happy to find that the vehicle had at least some level of charge, but I probably should have asked them if they could charge it up before I got there. The drive home was mostly highway, but it was nice to hit EV mode when exiting just to try it out.

    That was long, but I hope it helps.
     
  6. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Senior Member

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    Ask the dealer for a courtesy ride
     
  7. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    Buying a used PP from a small town dealer where there is no commercial air service. So I'm having it trucked the 400 miles to me. Cost for having the dealer arrange and pay the trucker is $700. Cost if I deal directly with the trucker is $500. Have to admit I like the notion of "door to door" service. FWIW there were no used PP Advanced anywhere in my state.
     
  8. pghyndman

    pghyndman Active Member

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    FWIW, if you have sufficient tax liability it may be less expensive to buy a new PP, as you will be able to save another $4502 (plus manufacturer, dealer, and state rebates/incentives for new vehicles).
     
  9. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Fortunately, I live in New England where I can just pick up a PP from a local dealer without flying. Yeah, if it was pre-Trump, pre-COVID time, I would have flown half a continent and drove back to save $4K-$5K. But I now have such aversion to commercial flight, I will not get on a plane even if someone pays me a lot of money. Good luck with your flight. I know your drive back home in a brand new PP will be just sweet.

    Does Pennsylvania have a great Toyota rebate as the Greater NY or New England region? I have not seen any car that has no front license plate bracket in our local dealer's lots. I have a feeling it is installed at the factory. Even if it can be ordered without the front license plate bracket, the front bumper of PP has the recessed front license plate attachment site. It does not look much better without the license plate IMHO.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    No not even close, unless you're comparing a used Advanced to a new LE. Apples to apples its WAY cheaper to go used, and then there's depreciation....
     
  11. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Maybe in your state, buying used PP is the only way to get a reasonable price. But on both coasts, with rebates and discount and tax credit, PP LE can be bought at ~$18k before tax, and PP Ltd is at ~$24k or less before tax. I sold my 2020 PP LE after owning only 10 months because I am not needing a car right now. I made ~$4000 profit by selling it to Carvana, which is the service you could have used to purchase a used PP.
     
  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Nothing local, but I'm in a border region where going to NJ or NY isn't a hassle. The dealer where I got my 2005 Prius, and a couple Philly ones don't have a Prius Prime listed.
     
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  13. PT Guy

    PT Guy Senior Member

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    KP makes some very good points. Before you buy out of state, ask your home state what documents they need to title and register the vehicle. Some states may have some variation. Know before you go. As KP found, don't count on the selling dealer to be able to do your state's paperwork unless it's an adjoining state where they regularly do business. (My Oregon purchase with Washington registration that was a regular for that dealership.)

    The MSO Manufacturer's Statement of Origin, or MCO Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin is like the original title from the manufacturer. That plus a bill of sale to you are the main documents needed in case of a cash sale---but check your own state to be sure. The dealer might not hold the MSO/MCO. It might be held by the bank that is financing the dealer's inventory. Ask. If you finance the car the paperwork path will be different. Ask.

    Check with your insurer before you buy. Ask how to ensure coverage for the drive home. One way is to call the agent or company and give them the new car's details including VIN before you drive off the lot. Ask.

    Before you drive off the lot do your own careful inspection. Know what stuff should be in the car...charging cable, jack, wheel tools, owner's manual. Check the tire inflation pressure. It is often high--set it at the pressures shown on the placard on the driver's door jam. Check the levels of all fluids. If there is a sack of plastic plug things, tell them to put them in the holes used for tie-downs on the ship like they're supposed to do. I know, the dealership has this wonderful pre-delivery inspection that mainly is a wash and throwing away the plastic that kept stuff clean. They miss a lot.
     
  14. Sarge

    Sarge Senior Member

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    I bought my 2014 PIP in 2016 remotely, as my Gen 2 died and I needed to replace the car and the Prime was not yet available.

    In Canada, PiPs were incredibly rare, as only 400 or so were sold between 2012-2015. I found one that popped up on AutoTrader that happened to be in the exact config I wanted - blue and loaded Technology (Advanced) package and with low mileage (39K KM) - except it was 8 hours north in Sault Ste Marie, at a Toyota dealer.

    Over the next 3-4 days, I negotiated with them over the phone, and finally reached an agreement. Agreed on price in writing (cash deal), I put a few hundred dollar deposit on my credit card, then went and got a certified cheque and booked a one-way flight (~ 2 hours on a puddle jumper) around 8am.

    The sales rep met met at the (tiny) airport and brought me to the dealership. The car was nice and prepped, took it on a short test drive to make sure everything was good (it was), and signed papers and off I went. It was all within the province of Ontario, so plates were not an issue; in fact she was even able to track down a green plate for me (which is non-existent in Northern Ontario, just like EV/PHEV vehicles...), and that was her “surprise” for me. :)

    The car was “mint” as far as dings, etc (as advertised), however there were a few minor surface scratches along some lower panels, like it was driven through some brush. Barely noticeable, not a bit deal, just annoying that they should have declared this when I asked about any damage, scratches, etc. What was slightly more annoying was a couple missing accessories like the driver embroidered floor mat no tonneau cover in the trunk, and the little plastic tray in the centre console. I argued that they owed me these things since they come as factory equipment, but they insisted used cars are sold “as is”. Not impressed about that, but everything else was fine. In the end I just gave up this fight and ordered a tonneau cover on eBay for something like $150 and a tray for $10 or $20. I never replaced the floor mat, but they threw in the all weather mats instead, so whatever. Of course, the car was not charged when I got there, so I had to trust them that the EV portion was fine (which is a very low risk of course with the young age). :cautious:

    The drive home was fun, as I had never been that far north so it was an adventure. I was on the road by 10:30am or so and drove through and pulled in the driveway around 7pm.

    Overall, it was a positive experience. There was certainly a degree of risk, mostly that I was paying for a flight with the risk of getting there and having something serious not be as promised, which would mean flying back empty handed and wasting more money. But given it was a Toyota dealer (not a private seller or independent dealer) and I had made all negotiations in advance, I figured the risk was low.

    Learning points I took away would be that if I ever was in a similar situation negotiating a used car remotely, I suggest asking lots of questions, and look at photos very closely for any missing accessories or abnormalities, etc, and ask for additional photos as needed, don’t be shy. And of course make sure everything is in writing beforehand (which I did).

    That’s about it.... good luck with your purchase! :cool:
     
  15. Wolfie52

    Wolfie52 Senior "Jr" Member

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    I purchase my 2017 Prime advanced from Carmax in Laurel, MD almost exactly 3 years ago. They had (have?) the only Carmax that is also a Toyota dealer there. Other CM don't sell new Toyotas. I caught an end of model year deal, + 3000 dealer rebate and $4502/fed tax credit (only reduces your taxes-IT IS NOT REFUNDABLE-I wonder how many don't get the full credit because they don't owe much in tax?!). My local Charlotte dealers didn't even stock Prime at that time, but Carmax had about 20 NEW models to chose from. I contacted them about a week before to verify the price and have them hold the car, which they did. Gave me the EXACT price and told me what I needed.

    I also wanted to take a spring break trip to upstate NY, so I bought one way ticket from CLT to BWI. It was a cheap flight and only takes 1 hour. The dealer could have picked us up at Baltimore airport but I took Uber to the dealer. In about 1 hour I was out of there. They took a personal check (never finance a depreciating asset) with verification by showing them my bank balance online. Otherwise I would have had a Cashiers Check ready. Signed paperwork. No BS except a soft sell for extended warranty. They charged 20$ for a 45 day temp tag from Maryland. They made sure it was full of gas---got 600 miles on B4 I had to fill it.

    I went on my trip and drove back to Charlotte a week later. Kind of a great way to break in and experience my new car. Still love it today.

    I drove out with the car, went to upstate NY (saving about 7 hours driving from Charlotte) They do not handle registration for NC so in about 1 week they sent all the paperwork to my home and I went to NC DMV and registered it myself. AT that time I had to pay the taxes for NC. No matter where you buy the car you pay the tax from your home state.

    Worked out great for me, but I guess for some it might be a more expensive way to get a car. I knew one guy from NC who did the same as me but took a train or bus to DC, so he saved the $89 airfare.

    As for the front plate, most states that the Prime sells in use front plates so it will likely have a holder. SInce NC only uses rear plates I use the front to place a plate for CA (my home state) or Aruba (got a plate on vacay there) to give my car a different look.

    As for flying, I have flown 1/2 dozen times since last summer. Flying is safer than driving. Everyone wears masks. The air is recycled often. I did not feel at risk flying. After 9/11 people became fearful of flying: what happened? The auto death rate increased. I've read that more people died in the 18 months after 9/11 by increased car deaths, than died in the 9/11 attacks. People misplace fear for facts.
     

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    #15 Wolfie52, Mar 27, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021
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  16. Schrauger

    Schrauger Junior Member

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    Just to clarify for others, I'm pretty sure this only means you don't get extra money back if your TOTAL federal taxes is less than $4500. However, you can still use the credit and get a refund check. That is, if you do the standard withholding (essentially paying your taxes through the year) and would normally owe the government $0 when you file taxes, you would instead get a $4500 check from the IRS. You owed the government let's say $5000 in taxes that year, which you paid correctly over the entire year, and then they reduced that amount you owed to them by $4500, meaning you essentially overpaid the taxes you owed by $4500. So they will still refund you that amount.
     
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