Prius C Beats Volt and Leaf February Sales In First 3 Days

A strong start reported this week for Prius c orders is news, but is it surprising?

Toyota says in the first three days since sales began March 12, it sold 1,201 units, eclipsing Nissan Leaf’s 478 units sold and Chevy Volt’s 1.023 units sold in the entire month of February.

“A number of factors drive the auto market, and fuel prices is one of them,” said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division. “With 53 miles-per-gallon in the city and priced under $19,000, the timing for Prius c couldn’t be better.”

As we noted last month, in Japan Toyota received ten times the expected orders for the car called the Aqua in the home market, and which builds on the reputation already established by the number-one selling regular Prius hybrid.

Last month Prius sales totaled 20,593 and 32,593 year-to-date.


  • greg

    Looks like another home run for Toyota. Congratulations!

  • Gene Mate

    Yeah, because the Volt and Prius C are comparable. Sheesh.

    How about plug-in Prius sales. How many of those were there? Not many I would guess. Especially since the plug-in Prius is at least sort of like a Volt, though vastly less capable.

    Honestly, some people just seem determined to stretch to besmirch the Volt every chance they get. It’d be laughable if it wasn’t so sad and blatantly wrong.

  • tonodominguez

    I asked a pair of days ago for this model to Canary Islands ( Europe) and they told me that was not able to sell in Europe…. what a pity

  • Steven B

    The Prius C is not comparable to the Volt or the Leaf. Make a plug-in version and then we can talk oranges and tangerines, but not still not apples and oranges. The Prius C is comparable to the Honda Insight, and in an apples to apples comparison, it still definitely comes out on top. Good job Toyota!

  • Steven B

    The Prius C is not comparable to the Volt or the Leaf. Make a plug-in version and then we can talk oranges and tangerines, but not still not apples and oranges. The Prius C is comparable to the Honda Insight, and in an apples to apples comparison, it still definitely comes out on top. Good job Toyota!

  • JD

    You are right, they are not comparable. On price alone, the Leaf and the Volt are handicapped as compared to the Prius C ($19K). On Range alone , the Leaf( 70 miles) and the Volt (365 miles/35 mi Batt/ 330 miles on Premium 91 UL) again are handicapped as compared to the Prius C(500+ miles/87 UL). The only place the Leaf beats the Prius C is in emission standards(EPA-Smart Elite). By the way the Volt isn’t even on the EPA’s Smart Elite List because it is a Range Extender (ICE/really an engine generator) that uses 91 Premium UL and has a lower smog score. You could buy an 3 KW Engine Generator for $200-$300 that uses a Briggs & Stratton ICE and 87 UL. No one wants to besmirch the Volt. The facts are that it is a good concept, but poor engineering. What did you expect from GM? Just 6 years removed, they would have been more than happy for you to part with your $50k + and sell you a vehicle that gave you the inverse of MPG(Gallons/Mile), weighed in at 8000 lbs, and a blinds eye to smog forming emissions.

    EVs in time will get over their bad ergonomics (Long Charge Times, Short Ranges, No electrical charging infrastructure, and Li-Ion Batteries Bricking). In the mean time PHEVs and Hybrids are the right choices for now.

  • The anonymous

    ” Toyota says in the first three days since sales began …”

    Geez, what’s next???

    First two days of sales?

  • The anonymous

    Any chance that there’s a mad rush from Japanese buyers before the government’s green subsidy runs out?

    “… the Japanese government has reintroduced a subsidy that enables buyers who purchase environmentally friendly vehicles to receive a discount of up to 100,000 yen ($1,227).

    The scheme, introduced last month, is capped at some 300 billion yen ($3.6 billion), in order to help buyers take advantage of it sooner rather than later (Deutsche Bank’s Kurt Sanger said it will probably last until the end of the summer). “

    http://hybridcars.com/news/japanese-green-vehicle-subsidy-aims-help-boost-car-sales-42133.html

  • Steven B

    The best thing about the Prius C is that it’s the first hybrid (maybe second if you count the Insight) that doesn’t need a subsidy to be accessible. Also, I’d love to see a plug-in Prius C. It might be a while for it to come out, but it’s probably in the pipeline. Same goes for the Prius V and all other hybrids. Really, to me, it’s just nice to see the car market evolving.

  • Jeff Cobb

    Everyone,

    Truth be told, this was a brief based on a very short press release from Toyota.

    http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/prius+c+launch+kicks+off+strong+sales.htm

    Someone said people want to besmirch the Volt. Agreed. My apologies if it looks like I’m being a useful tool in that agenda. Don’t mean to be!

    Someone else said what’s next, 2 days?

    Yes, I guess maybe, with 1 day following? … :)

    To add balance, Volt and Leaf are different category cars.

    Odds are Toyota had buyers/lessors lined up to grab these vehicles but let’s see how they do in the next month, the month following, and the long run!

    That said, consumers are much more ready to embrace lower prices than higher. Because the Prius c comes in at around $19-23 k, it has peoples’ attention. Them’s the facts.

    That’s why I said it is no surprise. We knew the Prius c was perceived as a value leader for today’s market, like it or not …

    Obviously the value proposition for more expensive plug-in cars is a more qualified decision, but can bottom line make better sense for some cases.

    Market-wise, overall, this is very much a transition period for consumers thinking about advanced-tech vehicles like the Leaf, Volt, Focus EV, etc.

    If anyone has doubts about these short news briefs, we are basically just passing on snippets, but not intending to push for any one maker!

    It is true though, Toyota on its initial opening of sales did do a great job of selling the Prius c. We gave credit where due.

    I don’t believe December or January 2011 sales for the Volt were close to 1,200. (It was launched 12/10 – and GM sold 321 Volts in January 2011, and 281 in February 2011).

    That said, Toyota has an advantage in launching the new Prius c, as its regular Prius has been on the market for so long, so selling a cheaper, lighter, smaller version was an easy proposition.

    Just saying, so you folks don’t think we are sleeping at the wheel.

    Thanks for reading!

    Regards,

    Jeff

  • Moniade adewale

    Nice car.

  • Nelson Lu

    The Insight sold rapidly when it first came out, too. From what I am reading in reviews, the Prius c appears to be just as bad of a *car* as the Insight, with higher mileage but otherwise just as uncomfortable and cheaply built. Folks who are willing to live with it are free to do so. The Leaf and the Volt are far nicer cars.

  • rkb

    Thanks for the article. Any Prius just seems a better car and a far better value than the Leaf or the Volt, and because the sales indicate it will appeal to far more people, it’s probably a significantly better bet to practically decrease America’s energy use, too. And while the Leaf will coast to a halt somewhere around 100 miles, and the Volt will get mileage in the 30′s after about 35 miles of continuous use, the Prius will continue to save fuel no matter how far you drive, and it will probably continue to hold its resale value better, too.

    If you want to buy a Leaf or a Volt, that’s great and good luck to you, but don’t think yours is the only option, or even the best and most practical one for most consumers or the US.

  • Roger Glenn

    It sounds like GM’s CEO is at it again:

    Toyota is getting frisky. Per a press release, Toyota U.S.A. reports brisk sales of the game-changing Prius c compact hybrid. Then, TMS goes on to say that “In its first three days on the market, it sold 1,201 units, making it one Toyota’s fastest-selling vehicles and eclipsing Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf sales for the entire month of February.”

    This is highly unusual for the usually very careful and buttoned-up company. Even in private talks and after five Asahi Super Dry, you never hear anything negative about a competitor from a Toyota-san, or, for that matter, anything at all.

    The comment that the Priuc c sold more cars in three days than the Volt in a month is most likely a subtle ribbing in the direction of Detroit. There, GM CEO Dan Akerson had claimed that “Toyota sold about the same amount of Prius in its first year as the Volt in its first year.”

    The original Toyota Prius was launched in Japan in December 1997. In its first year, the Prius sold some 18,000 cars. The Chevrolet Volt was launched in the U.S. in December 2010. In its first year, the Chevrolet Volt had sold some 8,000 cars. That would be less than half of what the Prius sold in 1998.

    After we had pointed out that small discrepancy, a vociferous posse of Akerson apologists appeared, claiming that their CEO had referred to the U.S. introduction of the Prius. Too bad that they had not checked those data either: In the U.S., the first recorded sales month of the Prius was July 2000. Sales Prius U.S. July 2000 through June 2001: 12,968, data according to Automotive News.

    Any which way you spin it, Akerson was wrong. Not in the eyes of his trusted acolytes: Some claim to this day that 8,000 is more that 18,000 or 13,000. The new math must be contagious.

  • Anonymouse Volt

    I have driven my Volt 5600 miles since June. The dealer filled the tank, and charged the car, and in that time I have burned less than 1 gallon of the gas that was in it when I drove it home. Since I charge at night with a TOU plan at about 8 cents a KWH, (times about 13KWH) it costs about a $1.04 to fill it, and I get around 40 miles for that buck. I’ve gone about 40 miles on that gallon too.

    That’s less than 3 cents a mile ($0.026), or comparable to buying gas at $1.37 for a 53 MPG car. Around here that gallon will set you back at least $4.00. ($4.19 at Costco today.)

    I do expect to have to put a few gallons in sometime in June, since the car is programmed to use up the gas before it gets stale…

    Oh, and before you trot out the “Powered by Coal” canard, the electricity in my state is only 1% coal. See here:
    http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/states/ (I use the solar myself.)

    For fun compare Idaho to Wyoming, the two cheapest places in the US for electricity.

  • Anonymouse Volt

    I have driven my Volt 5600 miles since June. The dealer filled the tank, and charged the car, and in that time I have burned less than 1 gallon of the gas that was in it when I drove it home. Since I charge at night with a TOU plan at about 8 cents a KWH, (times about 13KWH) it costs about a $1.04 to fill it, and I get around 40 miles for that buck. I’ve gone about 40 miles on that gallon too.

    That’s less than 3 cents a mile ($0.026), or comparable to buying gas at $1.37 for a 53 MPG car. Around here that gallon will set you back at least $4.00. ($4.19 at Costco today.)

    I do expect to have to put a few gallons in sometime in June, since the car is programmed to use up the gas before it gets stale…

    Oh, and before you trot out the “Powered by Coal” canard, the electricity in my state is only 1% coal. See here:
    http://instituteforenergyresearch_dot_org/states/ (I use the solar myself.)

    For fun compare Idaho to Wyoming, the two cheapest places in the US for electricity.

  • New Prius owner

    What makes the Prius the best vehicle is it re-energizes the battery through braking of the car, it also only uses 87 Octane fuel and still gets better gas mileage then Volt (38 mpg on gas engine).
    Now I guess one could argue that the EV’s get better mileage, but what are you going to do when your 100 mile charge runs out? Your going to be sitting at home waiting for your car to be charged.
    EV’s are short trip commuter cars only.
    Hybrids you can drive anywhere, anytime and get exceptional gas mileage.
    I’m getting roughly 50.4 mpg in my 2011 Prius II (bought it new 3 weeks ago, I traded in my 2011 Buick Regal CXL turbo), I dirve 75 miles per day city/highway.
    For anyone else that wants to argue that the Prius is not hands down the best affordable hybrid vehicle available to date, go look at consumer reports sometime. The Prius is the most reliable, dependable car out of all the hybrids, and not only hybrids but vs. regular gas powered cars also.

  • VoltOwner

    75 miles a day is almost double the national average, which is right around 40 miles per day. For you the Prious is best. For others, well YMMV… Lets see 40 miles on electric would mean you only need gas for 35 miles at 40MPG highway, (38 is combined) so less than a gallon a day (0.875) vs 75 miles at 50.4 MPG is 1.48 gallons a day. Electricity cost is about a buck for the first 40 miles on my plan. @ $4 you will pay $5.92 a day, I would pay $3.50 for gas and $1.04 for electricity, $4.54 a day for the same # of miles.

    For the average daily range or below, a range on electric of average (40 miles) or above means never having to spend $4 for gas, well once a year for the Volt, but never for a Leaf. (I think you are outside the range for a Leaf, especially in winter, where the 20 degree temps really shorten the battery range. In those temps you may only get 25 miles out of the battery in a Volt, which flips around the above numbers to 50 miles @ 40MPG, so 1.25 gallons or $5.00 in gas, plus the $1.04 in electricity, which is more than your paying now by a whopping 12 cents, which will be offset by the rest of the year, unless you are in Antarctica. Say 4 months of blizzards, 8 of normal temps. 4X30 days @ $6.04 a day ($724.80) + 8X30 days @ $4.54 ($1089.60) is $1814.40 a year vs. $2131.40 a year, a near wash in your case.

    As I stated above, 1 gallon used, 5600 miles traveled, and I still have at least 7 gallons in the tank from the dealer. I don’t think any exclusively gas powered car is going to top that just yet.

    I’m just one of many, you can see the realtime numbers over at VoltStats.net, updated every 6 hours. 587 cars, 3743584.19 Total miles, 71.4% electric, 121.88 MPG average (Literally Miles Per Gallon used, no electricity) and 62.98 MPGe, which does factor in the electricity, although it’s a national average cost, YMMV if you pay more or less. (I pay lots less!)

  • Nelson Lu

    New Prius owner wrote:

    “What makes the Prius the best vehicle is it re-energizes the battery through braking of the car[.]“

    You do realize that *all* hybrids and EVs (and some “mild hybrids” that aren’t really hybrids, per se) do this, right?

    Stop listening to Toyota propaganda.

  • Nelson Lu

    And, of course, Toyota talks about the Prius c being the price leader and all that — while avoiding mentioning that the Prius plug-in — which is inferior to the Volt in its pure electric range and power — costs just as much as the Volt if comparably equipped, before the tax credits, and carries less tax credit.

    Toyota will probably sell a bundle of each of these Prii anyway. But that won’t be because it has superior technology.

  • VoltOwner

    “By the way the Volt isn’t even on the EPA’s Smart Elite List because it is a Range Extender (ICE/really an engine generator) that uses 91 Premium UL and has a lower smog score. You could buy an 3 KW Engine Generator for $200-$300 that uses a Briggs & Stratton ICE and 87 UL. “

    This does not make sense to me, could you explain it some more?
    You are saying that the EPA did not rate the Volt as “Smart Elite” because they don’t have a category for an EV with a range extender?

    How low is my smog score, if I have only burned 1 gallon over 5600 miles?
    Would you say it is better or worse than a 50MPG car that had to burn 112 gallons to go that far?
    I know, I’m an outlier, but the average Volt is going 112 miles on one gallon, so 50 gallons, same question. (Maybe it’s that 50 to 1 range of gas use that’s got the EPA confused?)

    The part about a Briggs & Stratton generator is a joke, right? Do you have any idea what kind of emissions one of those have? (Not good.) I know of one person using the Volt as a backup generator, says it’s much cheaper to run than his diesels, and cleaner to boot. (GM should make a stand-alone backup generator!)

    I think your statement that “The facts are that it is a good concept, but poor engineering” speaks volumes. I’d say you have probably never even seen a Volt, much less driven one. The design is good enough for BMW to hire away the Project head for their attempt at copying it, I’d say that’s pretty impressive. Look for licensing deal very soon.

    “No one wants to besmirch the Volt. “

    And yet, there you go…

  • Van

    When the Prius PHV comes to market (supposed to happen this month) then we will have a car to compare with the Volt.

    First differing driving patterns will affect the comparison. And differing affects of the primary location weather. But at the end of the day, a $35,000 PHV will be better for most people than a $45,000 Chevy.

    Lets assume the PHV goes 15 miles in EV mode and the Volt goes 40. And lets assume the car goes 12,000 miles in a year. And lets assume the daily commute is 30 miles. And lets assume they rack up 7350 miles of daily commute. The Prius then would get 3675 miles of EV and 8325 miles at 50 miles per gallon, spending $667 on gas.

    The Volt would get all 7350 commute miles in EV mode, and at 37 MPG would spend about $528 for premium fuel for the remaining miles. Now in reality the actual fuel saving for the Volt would be higher because even on longer drives, the first 40 miles would be EV miles. But even given that lets say we double the fuel savings to $300 per year. In ten years you would still be money ahead to buy the cheaper PHV.

    But wait, there is more. The Volt is likely to depreciate more so a replacement cost Volt to Volt or PHV to PHV would likely be higher for the Volt. So you get the short end of the stick coming, i.e. initial buy, and going, trade in value.

  • CharlesF

    @New Prius owner, the Honda CR-Z is rated more reliable than the Prius (65% vs 54% better than average) by Consumer Reports. The Fusion Hybrid is not too far off at 50%. The Fusion also has the highest test scores of the three at 84, vs 80 for the Prius and only 57 for the CR-Z.

    The Prius is a very good, even a great car, but it is not the end all be all car for everybody.

  • Nelson Lu

    The assertion that the plug-in Prius is $10k cheaper is simply false; as I referred to above, when I priced one on the Toyota Web site, to get it comparably equipped with the Volt, you have to get the $5k technology package – which puts it at basically the same price point as the Volt. With less tax credits, less electric range, and less power. (It does have more passenger and cargo room, and some interior features that the Volt doesn’t have, but unless you need those, the Volt is the better car.

  • sean t

    “It does have more passenger and cargo room . . . but unless you need those . . .”
    What else do I need?
    LOL

  • Nelson Lu

    Sean T, even as a Prius driver, sooner or later you’re going to have to actually accelerate at a decent rate once in a while, I’d assume. That’s where none of the Prii will be able to compare itself to the Volt. (And that’s why Toyota still sells a Camry Hybrid, which is itself also far superior to the Prii in that regard.)

  • Capt. Concernicus

    So let me get this straight not too long ago people in a certain auto company were comparing the Volt to the Prius, but now when the Prius C is compared to the Volt it’s now apples and oranges. I guess it’s all in how you view things.

    Congrats to Toyota for another successful launch of the smaller Prius. The Prius is a great car with great reliablity and fuel economy. Hopefully the new Prius sells as briskly as planned.

  • Van

    Hi Lu, your post seems erroneous. First the PHV base price is $32,000, and their “Advanced” model is $39,300. I made an allowance and said $35,000. Next the base price of the Volt is $42,000 and I made the same allowance and said $45,000. I did not address the tax rebate. But lets say buyers of the Volt get $5000 more tax credit dollars, cutting the initial buy differential to $5000. Still after ten years, the PHV is cheaper.

    Anyone who watches their money does not buy technology from car makers. A GPS from a car-maker might cost $1500 or more, whereas you can buy snazzy turn by turn blue tooth GPS for less than $300.

    As far as comparably equipped, both have four tires, 4 or 5 seats, transparent windows, and cup holders. :)

  • JD

    < "You are saying that the EPA did not rate the Volt as "Smart Elite" because they don't have a category for an EV with a range extender?">

    Yes, they do and because of its higher emissions(Range Extender) the Volt is lumped in with the EPA Elite Category, which is with all the other vehicles. In other words, once in range extender mode, you are no different than regular Chevy Malibu. FYI, GM just has introduced a Volt model that has lower emissions Engine Generator that should put it on par with the Prius for emissions ratings.

    < "You could buy an 3 KW Engine Generator for $200-$300 that uses a Briggs & Stratton ICE and 87 UL. "

    The fact the Volt uses 91 Premium UL, means once it goes into range extender mode, every gallon of gas it uses is costing 20 cents more/gallon. I used the Briggs and Stratton example, because most people aren’t going to put 91 Premium UL into an Ordinary Engine Generator when it costs 20 cents more.

    < "I think your statement that "The facts are that it is a good concept, but poor engineering" speaks volumes. I'd say you have probably never even seen a Volt, much less driven one. The design is good enough for BMW to hire away the Project head for their attempt at copying it, I'd say that's pretty impressive. Look for licensing deal very soon.">

    Here in Cali, I’ve see lots of Volts and I have personally test driven one prior to my purchase of a regular 3rd gen Prius. Turn offs right off the bat, $40 K +, charge time of 10 +hours, 91 Premium UL gas, 35 MPG, brand new model, GM’s Poor Reliability, and no Redundancy or Diversity for drive trains. I would be a perfect candidate for a PHEV, because I have Solar System at my home, but a charge time of 2.75 KWH, would defeat my Solar System and I would have to actually pay for electricity. The Plugin Prius. price wise is a turn off for me, but I do like that 50+ MPG better than the 35 MPG of the Volt.

  • sean t

    Nelson,
    Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. While I respect your opinions and agree to disagree with you, I found your posts are weird. The “once in a while” you said, for me, is about a few times a month, and for that you’ve to live with a more expensive, smaller car with 4 seats? Get real.

  • Nelson Lu

    I don’t know how you are getting the $42k figure for the Volt, Van. The base Volt – which is basically comparably equipped as the “advanced” Prius plug-in – costs $39,145. Essentially, they cost the same before tax credits.

  • JC

    Hey, How about the fact that they are BOTH (Prius C and Volt) excellent cars and a step in the right (although slightly divergent) direction!?!?!?!
    The pros and cons are completely subjective based on your needs and financial situation.

    Prius C Pros: Price point, compact urban-friendly size, excellent fuel economy
    Volt Pros: Semi fuel-independent (if you drive short distances most of the time- again, depends on needs and driving habits), actually fun to drive (the only sub-$100k HEV/ EV that is)

    So get off it, people. Why not acknowledge that they are both great cars but for different market segments and needs basis.