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Plug-In Prius Fleet Tests Moved Up to Early 2009; No Launch Date Yet

erku's picture

General Motors and Toyota are racing to get the first plug-in hybrid from a car manufacturer to market. Earlier this year, at the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota announced that several hundred plug-in Priuses delivered to government and commercial fleets in 2010 for field testing.

Nicely, though, Toyota's Global President Katsuaki Watanabe recently announced that the field trials have been moved up to early 2009. However, don't start plunking your money down just yet. A follow-up blog post from Irv Miller, Group Vice President, Corporate Communications, highlighted the fact that no retail timetable has been set yet.

The post also noted that at least one dealer, Magnussen Toyota of Palo Alto (in California), has apparently been taking deposits for plug-in Priuses, despite the fact that there is no timetable. Interestingly, the post sort of "applauded" Magnussen's excitement, while at the same time saying that the dealer has been slapped on the wrist (behind the scenes, natch) and would be returning all the deposits (ordered to, I'm sure).

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 (sic) 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.

Ah, the gullibility of people. Anyone who has been researching would know that if you want a plug-in Prius before 2010 (or so), you would probably have had better sense than to put down a deposit so soon. On the other hand, it did give Magnussen up-front money to play with for a couple of years (ahem).

Reported by Tech Ex

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