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David Pogue Tries to Buy a Second Prius

And fails:

Where Are All Those Priuses?: [the dealership manager] told me quite a tale. His dealership used to get, from Toyota Corporate, about 30 Priuses a month to sell. But starting in May, his allocations inexplicably dropped to about four cars--and base-model cars, at that. He said he’s actually calling people on the waiting list to offer them these stripped-down models, since the better equipped cars they wanted aren’t available—and they’re taking them!

So when might I get the new Prius? “We’ve got 50 people ahead of you on the waiting list,” he said. “And we’re getting about three or four cars a month. You do the math.” (As for the call I’d gotten that said they’d found the car I was looking for: the manager had no explanation. He said he’d look into it.)

But then came the punch line. “You’re not the only customer accusing us of selling your car out from under you,” the manager told me. “But you know what? I think Toyota’s selling our cars out from under us! They’re manufacturing the same number of cars, but we’re just not seeing ‘em. So I figure they’re selling them in Europe, where they can get much more money for them.”