Toyota: Prius Will Be Number One Seller in U.S. by 2020

Toyota will unveil a family of Priuses at next week’s Detroit auto show—but that’s just the beginning of its big plans for the quintessential hybrid. The company is planning to make Prius its top-selling line of vehicles by the end of this decade.

“We will end the decade with Prius being the number one nameplate in the industry,” said Bob Carter, Toyota’s group vice president for U.S. sales, in a Bloomberg report. Carter said that Camry, Toyota’s long-time top-selling U.S. model, will fall behind Prius by 2020.

Toyota Prius sales were down by 2 percent through November, and could end the year basically flat compared to 2009. But with the introduction of several different versions of the Prius—and with rising gas prices and increasing government pressure on automakers to increase fuel efficiency—the line of Prius models could sell at much higher numbers.

With the introduction of plug-in cars—the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF—the 50-mpg Prius is no longer the most fuel-efficient model available in the United States. Yet, the Volt and LEAF are expected to sell in relatively low numbers, even with generous government incentives.

Meanwhile, Toyota sold approximately 150,000 units of the Prius in the U.S. in 2010, and more than 315,000 in Japan—making it the number one seller in Japan for the past 19 consecutive months and the biggest seller in a single year ever in Japan.

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  • patrick

    I drive my Camry Hybrid everywhere over three years now. I can see it just a matter of time hybrid system will became main stream technology. Because the system makes the most sense. GM had been failed to make profit in last ten years or so by building substandard cars, what make you think the Volt will turn the company around.
    Prius started the revolution ten years ago and now you can see where Toyota is heading-a full line of Prius.

  • Johnray

    You mean HONDA!!! Honda started it all a decade ago with the original insight at 66 mpg.

  • Charles


    Honda was the first in the US with a modern hybrid, but the Toyota Prius predates the Insight in Japan. If you want to go way back the first Porsche hybrid was built in 1898.

  • Pierre

    From Bloomberg: “… expects the Prius hybrid and related models bearing the same name to become its top-selling U.S. *vehicle line* by the end of the decade. “

    The key word here is ‘vehicle line’.
    It is NOT the same as saying Prius will outsell Camry within this decade.

  • Dom

    I still won’t buy one. The only vehicle I’d be interested in from Toyota would be if they started offering for sale in the US the Tacoma with a small diesel engine and manual transmission… i.e. something like the Toyota Hilux the rest of the world gets. I don’t want more Prius options, I want something useful and that actually makes sense without all the greenwashing.

  • Ricky Bobby

    Why would anyone want to get inside one of Toyota’s death-trap cars besides out-of-touch Grandmas and Grandpas? This VP is smoking some serious stuff if he thinks Toyota is going to recover from the last 3 years of lying and killing people. It’s over, by 2020 Toyota will be behind Ford, GM, Honda, VW and Hyundai in terms of sales and the Prius will be a footnote.

  • Jean Girard

    Wishful thinking Ricky Bobby.

  • Lad

    Prius is old technology, i.e., a ICE car with an electric motor kicker. Whereas the Volt is a BEV with an ICE extender. If Prius changes over to the same config as the Volt and can keep the cost low, by evolving the change over time, they might be correct in their prediction. However, the big problem to solve is the same for all makers: improving the cost and performance of the batteries.

  • Boricuas NY

    I can’t imagine why would anywone spend their hard earned cash in fueling their vehicles… with options of 50MPG cars.

    Puerto Rico is full of hybrids thanks to japanese smarts!

    I must agree with Patrick on the substandard cars… GM has been selling 10year cars forever almost like to keep a non integral economy loop going… buy a Buick own it for 10 years or so… and by then you need to sell it as it starts to literally fall apart or take it to the shop every other month to deal with the same warning light that nobody knows what its tied to…

  • Anonymous

    ricky bobby,

    not defending toyota’s response to the entire situation, but most of the issues are sensationalized by the press. every vehicle manufacture’s cars kills people at some level. don’t forget ford went through similar issues with tire problems and gas tank problems which probably killed more people than toyota’s recent problems. they were also hyped up by the press very quickly to sell papers.

  • Anonymous


    in reality they are all old technologies brought together to make more efficient vehicles. the order they are put together really does not matter to me. they can put the engine on the roof as far as i’m concerned as long as at the end of the day the vehicles are up to standards, efficient, reliable, and affordable, that’s good enough for me.

  • Hal

    I think you are overstating your accusation. I have driven my Prius for 3 years without incident. It has performed as advertised giving me 45 MPG consistently and on the highway as high as 52MPG even while driving 70 mph! I have had no mechanical, electrical or computer problems. So, your comments reflect total nonsense. Even the so called acceleration problems turned out to be fabricated or the result of driver error. I drive under high powered power lines daily, no problem. I have driven in mountains, and once between Texas to Southern California in high heat, and back, no problem! So, I don’t know what your beef with Toyota is but you need to state facts not rabid opinions based on hearsay.

  • Hal

    Right now the ONLY affordable solution to enhance gas mileage are hybrids like the Prius and Insight (and even it could do better). The Volt and Leaf are either very limited and expensive or just VERY expensive. Once my Prius is paid for its going to be a sweet ride.
    For the foreseeable future, I think hybrids are going to be the reasonable means for higher gas mileage.

  • Anonymous

    Hal —

    I agree that the issues have been overstated. I have no reason to doubt Toyota’s claim that it was an issue with sticking gas pedals and floor mats and no doubt a healthy dose of fraudulent claims. However, my folks have been longtime Toyota owners (they have had 5 Toyotas since 1986), but their latest purchase (2006 Camry) has been an unmitigated parade of problems. I have had friends with similar problems in their late model Toyotas. What’s worse, dealing with corporate at Toyota is never a pleasant experience. I honestly don’t think rebadging their car lines “Prius” is going to solve their problem — they need to look at their fundamental design and manufacturing processes that made them successful in the first place.

  • Al

    I had high hopes for the Volt. Since it’s a Chevy, I figured it would have a Chevy price and would give the Prius a run for its money. But $41,000 base price for a Volt??? O my dear dear, as my 3-year-old says. And the leaf is a comparative piece of junk, with its 100-mile limit and fancy charging station you have to finance to install in your home. I live on the east coast and recently met a guy who drove his Prius all the way from Oregon and loved it. Neither the Leaf nor the Volt stands a chance.

  • Dom

    Hal said, “Right now the ONLY affordable solution to enhance gas mileage are hybrids like the Prius and Insight (and even it could do better).”

    I guess you missed the memo that universal statements are almost never true. I would argue that smaller cars like the Focus, Fiesta, Cruze, Golf, etc, are a much more affordable solution to enhance gas mileage, with some of them now approaching 40mpg with turbo gas engines or mid 40’s with diesel engines. Start-stop systems are also much more affordable. Hybrids are not the ONLY solution, or the best, just in the US many have been green/brain-washed to think they are.

  • Used Cars London Ontario

    It’ll be interesting to see what sort of line they develop for the Prius. You’d think that with the Camry Hybrid they wouldn’t necessarily need to make a full line for the Prius, just modify their other products.

  • Anonymous

    It’s rather sad to see that some would still want to use the hwy mileage est. to ‘pretend’ the vehicle(s) is/are fuel efficient. I think, didn’t GM tried to fool us in its ad in similar fashion?

    Let’s look at some facts:
    (EPA rating city/ hwy/ combined – all from except Elantra which is still not available from that site)

    Elantra 29/40/33
    Fiesta A6 (non SFE)29/38/33
    SFE 29/40/33
    Cruze 1.8 A6 22/35/27
    1.4 A6 24/36/28
    Jetta 2.0 A6 30/42/34
    2.5 A6 24/31/27

    – The myth that Cruze is fuel ‘efficient’ is busted;
    – a fuel efficient Jetta may be only applicable to the ‘decade-old’ 2.slow, and from my previous experience, it’s competent but barely adequate 10 years later;
    – Fiesta is a size too small relative to others, and it’s a size too small for many (esp. those who need a ‘real’ usable rear seat).

    How about Prius or Insight?

    Prius 51/48/50
    Insight 40/43/41

    Every non-hybrid mentioned above is, at best, only about 2/3 as fuel efficient as Prius, though Prius may be a bit pricey. But the base model of Insight now starts from ~18k, and a better equipped one below 20k, which is quite competitive to those non-hybrids above similarly equipped.

  • Anonymous

    “Cruze 1.8 A6 22/35/27
    1.4 A6 24/36/28 “

    Wow. Even the current Civic that was first debuted in 2005 is rated 25/36 with ‘only’ a 5 spd auto.

  • Anonymous

    “Cruze 1.8 A6 22/35/27
    1.4 A6 24/36/28″

    Wow. The current Civic which was first debuted in 2005 is rated 25/36 with ‘only’ a five-speed auto.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    Ricky Bobby–

    Thanks for your sensationalized news report. Are you a reporter for Fox News by any chance?


    Prius is older technology yet somehow it gets the best fuel economy out of all the cars out there. I find that very interesting.


    I own a 2007 Prius. Paid $25K for it and it’s almost fully loaded. Now that the weather is colder in the upper midwest I am currently AVERAGING 46.2 mpg. That’s cty/hwy mileage. Not APPROACHING 40 mpg, which is the hwy mileage you are talking about for those cars.

  • Zwordsman

    Regardless of the sensationalism and the opportunity for the press to sell papers and generate mass coverage by exploiting the tragic death of automotive consumers, the fact remains, people died as a result of their negligence. In fact, I willing to gamble that an actuary compiled the data and determined that it would be more cost effective to allow a known defective product to be sold to consumers and remedy the malady after the vehicle had been sold. Where is the hype in that? Corporate profits by any means necessary! You want hype? H1N1 and the now the side effects people are experiencing after being administered an unproven and marginally test product.

  • Anonymous

    Zwordsman says:

    “In fact, I willing to gamble that an actuary compiled the data and determined that it would be more cost effective to allow a known defective product to be sold to consumers and remedy the malady after the vehicle had been sold. Where is the hype in that? “

    Whether it is deemed a “defect” or not, I’d argue trading cost vs risk is true in all products. If risks vs cost isn’t a factor, we would all be driving tanks or something ridiculous to reduce all risks close to zero.

    Furthermore, designing a product to zero risk is very unlikely nor practical. I think that concept has to be a balanced and within reason. The key word here is “reasonable”. At some point the cost will increase exponentially as a product is designed to eliminate risks. For example, manufactures knows there is a risk of planes falling from the sky and killing vehicle occupants… it is an unlikely scenario but a risk nevertheless. Is it a defect? Probably not because people do not expect the vehicle to function as such.

    In the case of the prius floor mat recall, it is certainly reasonable to expect the mat not to be a hindrance to vehicle control. In such case I may call this a defect depending on circumstances that triggered this (failed clip is probably a defect) and how often this occurs.

    Some may argue it is reasonable to expect people should have sufficient skills to control their vehicles in an event like this. And what happens when a part fails under wear and tear? Is it reasonable to assume drivers will be maintaining critical parts such as brakes or adjust their mat as it slides out of position? I guess my point is sometimes things are not as black and white as it seems. Most of the time manufactures and consumers both have to take on responsibilities to deal with the risks. Often times when it is not reasonable for the consumers to know or deal with the critical risks (e.g. mat clip breaking while driving and immediately causing mat to jam gas control), this is where the term “defect” may be used and manufactures will take on most of the blame.

  • Anonymous

    I think Toyota made that projection before FORD announced it’s new electrification plan:

    1. C-MAX Hybrid (1.6 EcoBoost with more room, higher EV range and speed, and higher mpg than Prius)

    2. C-MAX Energi Plugin Hybrid (More room, higher mpg, longer on EV, faster on EV, longer range than Prius and Volt)

    3. Focus Electric (Nicer than anything out there, faster charge, cheaper 240 charger and lower vehicle cost than the Leaf)

    And the upcoming:

    4. The ‘hinted’ and ‘avoided’ conversation about the Focus Hybrid Sedan (with their new 1.6 EcoBoost engine alone that gets combined 44mpg in the bigger Mondeo) which should get about 60-70 mpg as a hybrid. This will be the replacement for the Fusion ‘Hybrid’ that will end with the 2011 model. They are already doing a heavy marketing of the current Fusion, and not marketing the Fusion Hybrid at all, as if it does not exist. All electrified Ford cars will be on the C Platform and manufactured out of the new Michigan plant. I see that announcement coming in Feb or March.

    5. The Fiesta with the new 1.6 EcoBoost will be available for mileage in the 50s, and that’s without the cost of a hybrid. This should be announced first, as they have already started marketing the new high mileage 1.6 EcoBoost engine on the Ford website.

    And with all these cars selling world wide, with Fords focus on AFFORDABLE electrified and high mileage vehicles to benefit from the economy of scale, there is no doubt that Ford will be the clear leader before 2020.


  • vtimm

    I love my ’07 Prius and am looking forward to seeing the upcoming models released at the Detroit show as I want to purchase another Prius within the next two years. It is simply a joy to drive and the gas mileage is fabulous.

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