Toyota has dropped the Prius’ starting price by $1,210 as competition increases from lower-priced hybrids.
The best-selling hybrid had started at the Prius Two trim level and price of $25,570. CarsDirect reported that Prius One is now being offered for $24,360 with the same standard features minus three of them – a spare tire, rear wiper, and seatback pockets.
For some unexplained reason, Toyota set up a pricing structure starting at Prius Two a few years ago. The automaker may have wanted to hold back that card to play if a more affordable option was needed through Prius One.
According to Autoblog, that competitive pressure may be coming from the cheaper priced Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro. With the Ioniq Hybrid starting at $23,035 and the Niro coming in at $23,785, the Prius does have more price comparison pressure to deal with.
Toyota is also enhancing the value of the Prius with car shoppers through adding its Safety Plus Package as standard for the Prius Two and higher trim levels. That package offers blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking assist offering drivers the ability to see their surroundings to safely park their car.
The Japanese automaker has been feeling the sales pressure in the past three years as gasoline prices have stayed down and other small, fuel-efficient cars have become more popular. Sales have declined for the Prius and other Toyota and Lexus hybrid models.
The growing popularity of the Ford Fusion Hybrid is also having its impact on the Prius’ identity in the marketplace. While the Prius had dominated hybrid sales for a decade, that crown was taken away in the U.S. during January.
HybridCar’s Dashboard reported that the Fusion Hybrid beat the Prius by a thin margin in March – with 5,865 versus 5,798 in U.S. sales, respectively.
The year started with the Fusion Hybrid gaining 4,856 in U.S. sales versus the Prius finishing the month 4,553 units sold.
Price competition was probably factored in by Ford to beat the iconic Prius in hybrid sales. U.S. News & World Report in March listed the 2017 Fusion Hybrid’s starting price at $25,295, slightly lower than the Prius Two at $25,570.