If you're a car buyer and you go to a dealer for, let's just say for the sake of argument, a Toyota dealer, and ask them if you can buy a Prius Prime and they tell you, no, it's not being sold in your state, what are your options? As the official representative of Toyota in their various territories dealers wield a lot of power. And that power can't be underestimated. Dealers are protected by law in nearly every state in this nation. Toyota can only do so much to influence, notice I said influence, not change, the actions of dealers.
So this story from our friend, John Voelcker, in a time of cheap gas prices and declining Prius resale values is especially, shall we say poignant, given the details. Apparently dealers are telling car buyers that visit the Prius Prime is not available to them because Toyota won't ship the Prime to their state. If you're a car buyer guess what that does to your chances of buying a Prime? And guess what that does to Toyota's sale of Prime?
Put simply, a spokesperson from Toyota very clearly states that the Prime, while shipping in priority to CARB states, is available to all Toyota dealers.
Where the miscommunication came in isn't clear. Dealers are notoriously poor listeners and often, did I say often? I meant *always* driven by their own, short term priorities. Whatever makes the month is what dealers want and a car that might be hard to get make the Prime much less optimum for most dealers. Or maybe they just don't understand. After visiting dozens of Toyota dealers over the years in various states I have very little faith in most of them. Some, a handful nationwide, are amazing dealers and representatives for Toyota. Most are lucky their franchises are protected by law (the author's opinion).
So, to be clear, if you want to buy a Prime, Toyota claims they are shipping to all fifty states. Maybe go test your local dealer and tell us how it went. I'll be reporting back on my experience here in Florida shortly.