When gas prices were climbing in early 2011 and Toyota’s Prius Liftback, Prius c and Prius v were early or pending in their life cycles, the automaker predicted dominance by 2020 for its “Prius family” within its product offerings, but that forecast is being revised.
Hindsight from the sales history of the Prius c, launched 2012, and Prius v, launched 2011, plus dwindling sales for the Prius family has Toyota’s planners ceasing that projection, while also undecided on whether a second-generation Prius v will be offered.
“Given all the changes in consumers’ preferences right now, I don’t think we’re forecasting the Prius [family] to be our top volume seller anymore,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager.
The carmaker’s other products, including the Camry, Corolla and RAV4 each outsell the Prius family, and within that family, the Liftback has been the one doing the heavy lifting, said Toyota.
Of 999,516 U.S. sales for the Prius family reported since 2011, 657,245 were for the Liftback, 156,766 were for the Prius c, and 143,212 were for the Prius v.
The Prius v, a wagon rated 44 mpg city, 40 highway, 42 combined is furthermore being challenged by initially strong interest in the all-wheel drive RAV4 Hybrid SUV.
Toyota’s new hybrid RAV4 is rated just 34 mpg city, 31 highway, 33 combined, but Toyota has priced it to sell with just a $700 surcharge over comparable non-hybrid, it may be more versatile for people’s tastes, and oh yes, gas is now cheap.
“We’ll have to see how well the RAV4 Hybrid does,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America to Automotive News. “Because the RAV4 could really take the place of the Prius V.”
This said, the carmaker says it has no regrets. The Prius family has become a household name like Kleenex is to tissues, and is synonymous with “fuel efficient.”
While not commenting on whether a second-gen Prius c and particularly Prius v will be offered, Fay said the company will meanwhile “reinvest” in them with their ultimate future to be determined.