Feb. 17, 2007: Baltimore Sun—Cooling Prius Needs a Push

A Prius rolls off the assembly line at a Toyota plant.

Summary: If you’ve been trying to decide whether to buy a Prius, now may be the time. Until February 28, Toyota is offering low-interest financing and other (dealer) incentives for the gas sippers.

"Offers include zero-percent interest for 24 months, 2.9 percent for 36 months, 3.9 percent for 48 months and 4.9 percent for 60 months, or a $219 lease for 36 months.

"Toyota’s incentives come after the automaker sold 107,000 Priuses in the U.S. last year and increased production capacity in Japan in anticipation of selling 175,000 this year.

"Although Toyota is bullish on hybrids, analysts and other car companies question how much demand there is for the vehicles, which generally cost at least $2,000 more than a comparable gasoline model."

Sigh. Another article pushing the false assumption of "x dollars more" than a comparable model. The Prius’s low overall operating cost and milder depreciation are two reasons beyond fuel efficiency that can make it an attractive and economical choice for someone considering a new car. And until March 30, some buyers may benefit from the car’s income tax credit. (Don’t factor that in unless you actually owe taxes and have few deductions or other credits.)

The article goes on to quote a Nissan rep, Larry Dominique, about that company’s gloomy hybrid outlook. But if most Americans were to take Dominique’s advice and look five years down the road, they would be more likely—not less—to see hybrids as a smart financial move.

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