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Friday, June 06, 2008

Toyota Dealership Service Variation

It turns out my included service for my Prius runs out after 55,000 miles. I'd thought it went to 100k, but that's just the extended warranty. So, for some foolish reason, Toyota makes you start paying cash on the most expensive visit.

As my car rolled over the 60k mark, I pulled into Stevens Creek Toyota. I'd been getting service there most of the time before and they seemed to do a reasonable job. I had my coupon clutched in hand and got out to go over things with the service advisor. Having two coupons - one for 15% off and one for $50 off, I was pretty sure the $50 coupon was the right answer, but figured I should double check on the cost before committing to one or the other. I asked, and he answered, "Looks like $989."

The air left my lungs. Seriously? Yes, seriously. Okay, so I wasn't prepared for that. Backpedaling commenced. They would need my car all day and it wouldn't be done til at least four. Well, I needed to be on my way by three at the latest, so I'd better go. Well, we could probably do three, he says. And I so, "No no, let's do this another day. " And I run away.

This week I call around to a few other Toyota dealerships in the area expecting to have highly similar quotes from each of them. Instead, I get a range of quotes from $289 to $488. Nothing came anywhere near the $989 mark. Toyota of Palo Alto won my business by offering me an on-demand shuttle to and from Stanford, a willingness to do it in half a day, free wireless on site if I opted to wait, and a nice service manager named Val who cheerfully offered his cell number in case I had any other questions. For $299, less a different coupon garnering me $25 off, I made it out for less than $300 with Shadow ready for another five thousand miles (and where the next service will be much less than fifty bucks).

But really, how can this be a viable business model when there are no less than 6 Toyota dealerships in a 15 mile radius?


  • Good tip - I'll have to check with these guys when the Echo needs the 140k checkup. Steven's Creek has dicked me around asking $150 for an oil change, fluid level check and inspection... which is only ten dollars more than the insanely overpriced Toyota 101 down the street from my office. Blech.

    By Blogger Laura, at 1:44 PM  

  • I suspect they profit from most people not shopping around.

    By Blogger Chrisfs, at 8:20 AM  

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