Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrids Beyond Elusive


We spent a good chunk of yesterday calling car dealers nationwide trying to find a new Toyota Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid to buy. We logged quite a few phone calls — as interested buyers, mind you — and not one dealer had an actual vehicle on the lot. We recently ran our list of the fastest cars moving in and out of lots, and both ranked quite high, with the Prius and Civic Hybrid selling in 11 and 20 days, respectively.

According to more than one salesman, however, they sell “before they get off the truck.” So, how do you get one of these hot sellers?

Either get on a waiting list or buy used.

Waiting lists for the Prius, we’re told, are roughly four to six months. The Civic Hybrid was less, at three to four months on average. Obviously your local dealer may have a different number, and if you find one that you want to share, please do so in the comments below.

If you buy used, expect to pay up. Listings of used Priuses on show models across the country — with quite a bit of mileage — going for more than their original asking price when brand new. This is almost unheard of in the automotive marketplace. We talked to one seller named Cathy in California. She’s selling a 2007 Toyota Prius with 20,000 miles on it for $32,500. She bought it a year ago for her daughter, new, for $26,200. To be fair, she got an extended warranty and maintenance packages, and the dealer gave her a $4,000 discount at the time. She’s also tinted the windows and there are four new tires.

Now, her dealer can’t even get a new Prius into his dealership. Cathy has had the car listed for a few weeks and has gotten some email interest, but no takers. She plans on keeping the price in place, and even her local dealer told her not to lower her asking price. She’s just one example of dozens we found.

Most cars lose 15-20% of their value during the first year of ownership, and now people selling their used Priuses are actually looking to make a profit. It’s a crazy world these days. Tell us what you think and if you’d go the waiting list or used route. Personally, we can’t wait to see the Honda CR-Z hit the streets.



This is completely unsurprising. I lived in the Bay Area 3 years ago when there were 1-3 month waiting lists for the Prius...with gas at $2.50 a gallon.

Now it's nationwide. Gotta love the market.


I don't get it. The car doesn't look appealing at all and there are other cars available that will provide mileage numbers that aren't that far from the Prius. My opinion is that most buyers are baffled by the hype and are ignorant when it comes to what else is available.

Toyota has a battery shortage right now and that's why there production is down. They are looking at producing the Prius in the U.S to speed up production and buying mines to get the minerals needed for the batteries. One of our local toyota dealers has several camry and hughlander hybrids. The honda dealership next to my office has one civic hybird. But then they only have 5 regular civics and 5 fits as well. only has one used Prius. I remember looking about a month ago and they had about 20. They only have one used Civic and it's not a hybrid.

Bowrider - it appears that some people don't really care about the looks if they can get 50mpg. Also the other non-hybrid/high mpg vehicles (civic, fit, versa, yaris, etc)are selling just as well - it's just that more of them are produced and you can get them easier.

This is something that the big 3 should have seen coming over the last 10 years but they lived with their SUV blinders on.


This is not the first time you have stated that the big 3 should have seen this trend coming 10 years ago. Did you know fuel prices were going to go to record high after record high in 2007 and 2008? It's easy to say what they should have done but a company exists to make money and the money was in trucks and SUV's until quite recently. Instead of being so cynical, why don't you applaud them for the efforts they are doing to reinvent themselves. This is a historic shift for them and they are fighting for their very survival.


Scott Robinson Honda down in Torrance had 6 civic hybrids in stock and no mark ups. South day Toyota had none in stock as of last week and very bad customer service.


keith, get over it. The Big Three has screwed themself along with all of their employees. Guys is where it is in part to the demand of the big 3's SUV's and Trucks. It wont be long until Honda is setting at tops with Toyota.

Keith -
If Honda and Toyota were able to produce the fuel efficient / hybrid vehicles 5 years ago then why didn't GM, Ford and Chrysler? You also have to take into account the 5 years of reseach that preceeded it. If Toyota and Honda could see it then why didn't the big 3. Lets see...applaud their efforts - okay lets applaud a hybrid Yukon or a $40,000 Volt. Or a hybrid Aura that gets 24mpg. Let's applaud the fact that Chrysler doesn't produce a vehicle that get over 30mpg. Let's applaud the fact that GM scrapped the electric vehicle years ago.

Remember that Honda and Toyota developed those cars in Japan as well where the govt. encouraged the development. The market there with high gas prices 5-10 years ago also made them more attractive to Japanese buyers.

But the Big 3 is still moving too slow in most regards. I think the battery development is also slowing everyone down.


Ziggy: The problem faced by the big 3 was their cost to produce a given vehicle, due to the UAW contract costs. As such, it was not profitable for them to produce smaller, cheaper cars. The US factories of the foreign makers are generally non union, creating a more efficient work flow.

On top of that, they faced the dreaded quarterly reports. Wall Street wants to see profit and increased dollar sales. That translates into selling big, expensive vehicles. On top of that, the American consumer was voting for suvs and trucks with his wallet.

The Japanese also made errors in judging the US market. Toyota has stated that their dollar results will be weak because the sales of cars like Corolla cannot bring in the dollars of big suvs and trucks. Honda is trying to avoid layoffs by moving some car production to US truck/suv lines.

If the Japanese had been that omniscient, they would have been ready to ramp up Prius and Civic hybrid sales. They were not. In fact, they concentrated their US investments in truck and suv plants.

Both Ford and GM have many small, efficient cars for sale, in Europe and other areas. In fact, their selection of such vehicles is huge in Europe.

Nobody foresaw this super fast market shift in the US.

IN Ziggy's defense I will say the Big 3 do employ and/or hire people to make these types of predictions and they plan their entire future lineups around such predictions. So, those folks were indeed wrong. Many other folks predicted $3 gas before Katrina.

Part of the issue in LA is the new Prius does not qualify for a car pool lane sticker. Part of the value is in that sticker. I'm sure SF is the same way.


Maybe I should be more blunt - Why do you feel like you need to continue posting cynical comment after cynical comment about what the Big 3 should have done or how the Big 3 screwed themselves. I just don't understand what you are trying to accomplish by beating this dead horse over and over again. I get it. We all get it. Why do you take jabs at them in a post that absolutely does not pertain to the Big 3 whatsoever. When did it become so wrong to hold out a little hope for our own domestic auto industry or do you think we will all be better off if they just fail and shut down. Provide an intelligent, well-thought out response to these questions and then I'll "get over it."

I guess expressing what is "reality" is being "cynical". Oh well. Then maybe at the same time we should stop all of the articles about Honda's and Toyota's success'. Are we tired of hearing that as well? It's just that they have had opportunities, just in the last couple of years and have done anything. They have been showing small, high mpg vehicles at auto shows for the last five years yet don't produce them. I have no sympathy for that.



Then why won't our government encourage the big 3 to develop those technology?

Let me tell you why, because our government and people likes to stay behind on just about everything.

The rest of the world uses metric system since how long ago? We are still stuck with the English system thus making some smart one at NASA crashing the exploring machine on Mars in 1998.
Don't even get me started on internet cable or cell phone technology.


Put a deposit down on a Civic Hybrid here in Norman, OK last night. No Civic Hybrids in Oklahoma that I can find. There may be one or two in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but those seem to leave before the phone call can be made.

My Civic Hybrid is on the boat coming from Japan and if there are no strikes, sinkings, or wrecks, I'll see it one month from now. Paying MSRP - no markup.

No Prius vehicles anywhere to be had around here. So went with the Civic Hybrid.

We do get a tax credit here in Oklahoma for Hybrids, which I did not discover until after I'd ordered. Serendipity...


Thanks for sharing your story. I'll take care of the duplicate posts.


Parents bought a new Prius before the market went bonkers. They like it for the gas milleage and got it in a color they like. I recently ride in it on an extended trip. I am only about 5'8 and mostly torso and was feeling alittle cramp. The seat was firm but not soft and couldn't adjust the headrest to a comfortable position so my neck hurt after sleeping, solved with additonal pillow to cushion. The drivers seat doesn't have the height adjust other cars have so step mom has to put a pillow under her to drive car. Otherwise the car mechanicial is great but ergonamics are abit on the tough side. Everyday driving shouldn't be any issue but trips are.

LM's the story:

In the early-mid 90s the Federal Gov't started an 80MPG car program - I believe Al Gore had something to do with it. The Big 3 lobbied to exclude import makers from the program, so Toyota and Honda began their own research in Japan. In 1997 Toyota had the Prius for sale in Japan. 11 years ago! By the end of the Clinton administration, the 80mpg car program was all but dead and W put the last nail in the coffin. He then began his hydrogen car initiative, and you see where we are with that.

In the meantime, GM did build an electric car, which they subsequently destroyed. So much for that. I guess they didn't like reliability and plug-in cars in $1.75/gallon gas land.

So, here we are in 2008. The Big 3 are playing catch up. Toyota and Honda are set to introduce Generation 3 of their hybrid programs. If the Big 3 had worked with the Japanese to develop hybrids in the 1990s perhaps they would be on-board the gravy train today. Alas, they cut themselves off to lose. So I say good for them.

As far as not predicting where we are today - there were plenty of us around saying oil would get more expensive with growing demand from China. You could see it in rising steel and concrete costs in the early part of the decade. It was bound to happen. Damn us liberals for being right, AGAIN.

Thank you

BTW - Chevy introduces a 3 cyllinder hybrid in 2000 called the Triax that was rated at 80 mpg but never produced it.


Well look at this. Two Nostradamus wannabes (Ziggy & LM) that are busy telling everyone how the U.S. automakers screwed themselves, should have worked with the Japanese, and that GM killed the electric car. A couple of fiction writers would be more appropriate who read something today and take credit for being psychic. Even if they had an inkling of what they were talking about or had any factual information to support their tirade, their credibility and integrity stands at zero right now. First of all I didn’t see any invite from the Japanese to the U.S. auto makers to come and work with them nor would the Japanese government be to happy about Toyota and Honda spending the Jap government’s money to help out GM in the process. I can’t wait to hear their explanation for why Toyota spent a billion dollars to build full-size trucks in Texas along with another engine plant to build big V8 engines for those trucks, oh geez they must not have seen that boost in gas prices coming and they just built that plant in 2006. Oh my, a blunder that seems to have been overlooked by the two critics. Maybe Toyota has a hybrid truck in the pipeline to compete with the GM hybrid trucks. The true story about the electric vehicle GM built has already been documented, but these two clowns chose not to read it in order to create the air of superiority with regard to their intuitive capabilities. It is important to recognize they can’t fool all of the people all of the time with their diatribes.



Why your diatribe against Ziggy and LM? Ziggy & LM both made valid points. Just because you can't handle the truth isn't their fault. You’re correct that Toyota made a blunder by following the big 3(as well as Nissan) into trucks and SUV's. I guess short term profits blinded them. But Toyota can correct their blunder by building small cars in those unused factories. The beef with the big 3.5 is that they have dismissed small efficient cars for years. If they had just competed with Toyota in small cars; like Toyota competed with them in Truck and SUV's they would be in a better place. Look they could have had efficient vehicle on the market now but chose to sell some big inefficient/overpriced trucks that nobody wants.


Doh: the big 3 could NOT compete with the Japanese in small cars because their UAW contracts raised the price of each vehicle too much. They simply could not make money on the things. The new, more realistic UAW contracts are supposed to make that competition a bit more possible.

Both Ford and GM have HUGE numbers of small, efficient cars for sale - in Europe. They spent the money, LOTS of money, to develop those cars. If there had been a market and, if they had been able to profitably produce and sell those cars here, they would have done it. No company willingly gives up a market.


I was able to order a prius through CostCo of all places (you work with CostCo to find the local dealer they have partnered with) with zero markup. I am paying just below sticker price. The waiting list I was told would take anywhere from 2-6 weeks and I'm about a month in. I expect my prius should be here within the next few weeks. All in all I think I did pretty well in a large market where hybrids are quite popular (Los Angeles).

Great tip! Thanks.

Sams Club provides the same service.

I just called Costco and they said the waiting list will be the same and the service rep said he talked to a prius buyer today who told him the wait was 4-6 months.

However you can get an amazing deal on a new Volvo C70 or S80 via Costco. Like $4000 off of their current incentives. Doing the math you get a $43K car for $35K. S80 T6.


I was able to get a Honda Civic Hybrid for July or August deliver but was charged a surcharge how common is this? Most dealers I have gone to won't even talk to me about one.


Doh or is it duh? Valid points? In God we trust all others bring data. There is no data or facts associated with their comments just innuendo and baseless claims they manufactured similar to the slanderous remarks you made. Here are some facts with data:

While foreign auto manufacturers attempt to “wrap themselves in the American flag,”the fact remains the same – the contributions to the U.S. economy by our foreign competition cannot compare to those made by GM.
Just the facts…
General Motors – People
• Every day, nearly one million Americans earn their living helping GM build and sell cars in the United States
• Every month 457,000 retirees and their spouses count on GM for Pension checks
• Over 1.2 million Americans receive health care benefits from General Motors
General Motors – Vehicles
• GM is the only domestic manufacturer to rank above industry average in JDP Vehicle Dependability study ; 40 percent improvement over last three years
• Cadillac cars outranked Lexus
• Buick and Cadillac both finished higher than Toyota
• The domestic parts content for GM vehicles sold in North America is 82%
• Toyota Motor Company’s domestic parts content is under 36%; Lexus brand is 3.4%
General Motors – Contributions to the Economy
• In the past 5 years, GM has invested over $20 billion in the U.S.
• GM’s contribution to the U.S. Gross National Product is about 4 times that of Toyota
The Domestic Auto industry – Your Neighbors
• GM, Ford and DCX manufacture 75% of all cars and trucks built in the United States
• The U.S. domestic auto manufacturers employ almost 90 percent of all American Auto Workers
• The Big Three currently have about 470,000 direct employees in the United States, this is nearly 10 times as many as the Japanese transplants (49,000)
• For every 100 vehicles sold in the United States, approximately 23 jobs are provided – nearly twice as many as our Japanese counterparts
• GM, Ford and DCX provide health care benefits to over 1.8 million U.S. employees, retirees and their families
• Foreign competition provides approximately 281,000 U.S. employees, retirees and family members with health care benefits
The Domestic Auto industry – Your Community
• Over 85% of the Total Investments inn the U.S. Auto Industry since 1980 have been made by GM, Ford and DCX
• Combined, GM, Ford and DCX spend over $16 Billion on Research and Development each year – more than any other industry
• Profits earned by domestic manufacturers stay in the United States

Alex S.

My dealer waiting list is more than 6 months. Even the LS600hl (a hybrid) was 2 month waiting list. Crazy!

At the very least, you guys make me laugh. It's not too hard to see who the "realists" are and who the "rah rah...union loving" people are.
You can throw as many "facts" around as you want, the simple reality is that Toyota and Honda are winning the battle.
The Big 3 are way behind and about to fall further. Why would your government encourage gas saving initiatives? ....Geeee...wonder if it had anything to do with good old George W making a mint from high priced oil?
Remember those futuristic movies we watched as kids with all the "transportation pods" that all look the same.....well guess is going to be fact alot sooner than you think. Wont matter if you think a Prius is ugly, or a Civic doesn't have the is going to be a regular part of our lives..and our kids.
Deal with it people....we do in Canada. quick....Im sure some of you are going to come up with your Canadian bashing...throw it at me! I can take it.


Andy - ye of little faith. Certainly you can do better than that with regard to your predictions about the future. You may be willing to settle for some generic looking mode of transportation, but not many others will. Hmmm – seems the Toyota boys are having their share of problems too so they are not infallible as you tried to convey in your comments. That would include Honda. Just to set the facts straight GM closed June stronger and outperformed Ford, Chrysler and Toyota on a year-over-year basis. Not bad for a company that is going down to the imports – eh!

A Duran

4-5 weeks wait for Civic Hybrid in Austin TX.
I ordered my car at the beginning of the week and I'm trying to patiently wait. I have an 8 year old SUV that can no longer handle the long work commute. The fuel savings along with lower pollution are definitely worth the extra cost.


never pay over stick especially on hybrid. Order it and wait it out. The cost in gas for a couple of monthes won't kill you.

Most of the quatrains deal with disasters, such as plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, and battles all undated and based on foreshadowings by the Mirabilis Liber. Some quatrains cover these disasters in overall terms; others concern a single person or small group of persons. Some cover a single town, others several towns in several countries. A major, underlying theme is an impending invasion of Europe by Muslim forces from further east and south headed by the expected Antichrist, directly reflecting the then current Ottoman invasions and the earlier Saracen(that is, Arab) equivalents, as well as the prior expectations of the Mirabilis Liber.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App