Has Toyota fallen out of love with the Prius?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by GrumpyCabbie, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    6,723
    2,117
    45
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Has Toyota fallen out of love with the Prius?

    Strange question to ask but bizarrely I think they have, at least here in the UK.

    Sales of the Prius last year were just 3,277 and this year for the first six months a total of 1,361 making a projected total of 2,722 for 2014. This is totally shocking and bordering on unviable. These figures also include the PIP at 498 in 2013 and 170 for 6 months of 2014 (340 projected?).

    These Prius figures are lower than in 2005 where only 3,672 were sold at a time when the technology was still unproven and expensive. It was also 9 years ago.

    One could argue that it's because the gen3 is near the end of it's life and people could be holding back for a gen4, but I don't buy that. In 2008 a year before the gen3 sales were just shy of 9,000 (8,934) and the trend for sales was just on the up and up;

    TOYOTA PRIUS (model family) - How Many Left?

    There was a boost in sales in 2010 (in the middle of a big recession) but then they fell significantly after then and have continued to do so;

    2010: 10,384
    2011: 6,454
    2012: 5,112
    2013: 3,277
    2014: 1,361 (6 months figures)

    At this rate and considering compliance costs, will Toyota not even bother with the gen4 in the UK? I hope not. Perhaps it could be argued that they're focusing on the European built Auris Hybrid and Yaris Hybrid models which on paper give higher mpg's than the Prius but in reality are turning out to get nowhere near the Prius in real world driving. On the UK forums it is suggested that the lower drag coefficient of the Prius is responsible, oh and having 15 inch wheels rather than the low profile 16 inchers on the Auris and Yaris hsd's.

    So have they fallen out of love with their international golden goose? Are they deliberately trying to fade it away? Some Toyota employees on the UK forums suggest that Toyota make bigger profits selling fewer but more expensive cars and thus are happy to sell 3,000 than 10,000. Makes life simpler for the sales teams I guess. It appears the old 1970's 'British Disease' has eventually infiltrated Toyota UK :(

    One benefit of falling sales is the massive increase in used prices for gen3 Prii. (y)
     
  2. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    5,326
    3,382
    1
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Model:
    N/A
    How were petrol prices over that same period?
    I know in the US prices were very high around 2008.

    I think the idea you mentioned, being at the tail end of the model, also plays a role.

    I don't believe most people are waiting, as the competition has been closing the gap. So rather than wait another year they are moving on.

    By the way, very nice that the PiP is available for you. In most of the state's it still isn't.
     
    F8L and Ashlem like this.
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    94,744
    42,970
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    i'm not sure 'golden goose' is the proper term for the prius. they probably like the rep, but i doubt it's a drop in the bucket in profits. they proxy make more on tundra alone.
     
    dorunron and NR427 like this.
  4. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    6,723
    2,117
    45
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    OK, Trophy model.
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    94,744
    42,970
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    exactly. and i would rephrase the question, 'has the public fallen out of love with the prius'?
     
    dorunron likes this.
  6. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    6,723
    2,117
    45
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Petrol prices did increase in 2010 to about £1.40 a litre or getting on for $9 a US gallon. It has steady around that mark until recently (3 months or so) when it came down to £1.23 a litre or $7.25 now. That is still high as despite oil being at record lows, most of our petrol cost is tax and we're aware that this present drop is just a blip.

    Are Toyota just happy to sit on their laurels? Or pricing the Prius above their locally made hybrid models? Probably the latter.
     
  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    94,744
    42,970
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    i think there's a new model coming, they don't like to rush products to market like gm, they'd rather get it right the first time. they're sitting by the sea with they're favorite beverage enjoying the view and making money hand over fist. why worry?;)
     
    #7 bisco, Nov 1, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  8. CapeAnn

    CapeAnn Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    114
    24
    0
    Location:
    Northeast United States
    Vehicle:
    2014 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    The graph seems to indicate some trends which are:

    Affects from the fluctuating cost of petrol?
    Acceptance of new technology
    Saturation of Prius within the smaller population in the UK
    Local incentives?

    I bet when the Gen Four comes out, along with higher petrol costs we see a uptick in purchases, with a subsequent decline after a few years as non-hybrids become far more competitive both with mileage and initial cost.
     
  9. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    6,723
    2,117
    45
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    In 2007 they sold 8k and in 2008 they sold 9k and petrol then cost the same as what you guys now pay. In 2010 petrol was high and has stayed high, yet sales are bombing.

    Year: Numbers Sold.....Average petrol price
    2001: 622..... £0.79 p a litre
    2002: 277..... £0.70 p a litre
    2003: 370..... £0.78p a litre
    2004: 1,555..... £0.78p
    2005: 3,672..... £0.80p
    2006: 4,987..... £0.89p
    2007: 8,758..... £0.88p
    2008: 8,934..... £1.04p
    2009: 7,837..... £0.90p
    2010: 10,384..... £1.12p (the year the warranty was increased on all Toyotas to 5 yrs/100k miles and purchase costs increased)
    2011: 6,454..... £1.30
    2012: 5,112..... £1.34
    2013: 3,277..... £1.39
    2014: 1,361^..... £1.31

    It appears it's nothing to do with cost of petrol. Any other ideas?

    Petrol Prices
     
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    45,551
    32,524
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    I had someone in parts refer to it as their "flagship vehicle". When we bought, 4 years back, their lot was littered with prius. Recently there, I saw one c in the showroom, and one v out on the back lot, with plastic sheeting still on.

    This topic is sure to raise some consternation here, lol.
     
  11. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    6,723
    2,117
    45
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Probably will. I'm not anti Prius. I love my car and am keeping it for now. I just saw those UK sales figures and was alarmed by them. They're going the wrong way, and quickly, at a time when petrol costs are 50% higher than 9 years ago.
     
  12. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    15,019
    7,697
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    Diesel is king

    The battery is a big concern, probably why you got the battery extension. Small test market to see if the sales improve with improved warranty to ease shoppers on battery replacements
     
  13. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    6,723
    2,117
    45
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    I'm refering to UK sales, not European sales. Diesel costs much more than petrol in the UK. The tax system also changed against diesel due to pollution concerns. A lot of people have also been stung with diesel particle filter failures.

    Average petrol cost today £1.24 a litre $7.33 a US gallon
    Average diesel cost today £1.29 a litre $7.62 a US gallon

    London Mayor Boris Johnson plots war against diesel cars | Autocar
     
    Sergiospl likes this.
  14. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    5,326
    3,382
    1
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Model:
    N/A
    I would be interested in the fuel efficiency of diesel vehicles. Have they gained appreciably on the Prius?
    Here in the USA diesels are required to have extra pollution controls which lower their efficiency. If that is not the case that gap may have closed, lowering sales.

    Part of it though, I would definately attribute to this generation getting "long in the tooth".

    Update: Nevermind, you answered my question :)
     
  15. css28

    css28 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    1,566
    438
    3
    Location:
    Suburban Detroit
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Toyota has many children.

    In the US, fuel efficient cars are effectively subsidized by CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) credits. Each fuel efficient car that Toyota sells here makes it possible to sell thirstier high profit margin light vehicles (like SUV's and pickup trucks).

    Hybrids are probably harder to move here lately with gasoline prices diving with the price of crude. I saw $2.86 per gallon on the way home yesterday.

    Every market is different and Toyota's motivations any given year are probably difficult to gauge.
     
  16. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    94,744
    42,970
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    unquestionably.
     
  17. kenmce

    kenmce High Voltage Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2004
    1,406
    422
    0
    Location:
    NY
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    Limited
    Don't know about over there, but on this side of the pond the darn things are actually speciating! We've still got daddy hatchback of course, but now it has funny looking offspring - the station wagon Prius, the bobtail Prius, and the plug-in. Pesky things are everywhere, you actually need to look before you cross the street!
     
  18. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    11,065
    3,479
    1
    Location:
    Northern VA (NoVA)
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Counter-intuitive, but I was wondering if the lower gasoline prices (assuming the down trend continues) would give Prius more EU buyers, because now gasoline taxes are so high it makes diesel cheaper, but I guess diesel also going down in price?
     
  19. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    11,627
    2,521
    8
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    Best not to conflate 'Prius' with Toyota hybrid.
    And the relationship between what Toyota wants to sell and public ends up buying is flimsy and mostly one-way at best.
     
  20. frhoads

    frhoads Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    13
    2
    0
    Location:
    St. Paul, MN
    Vehicle:
    2014 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    It is inevitable, and rational, for Prius sales to drop when gas prices drop.

    Buyers that are inclined can turn to vehicles with more power or sex appeal, if that is what they want, with lesser financial penalties.

    But I think the car companies have to keep an eye on the longer term, and I am not sure they can afford to be without a fuel efficient lineup. And it takes a while to develop gas efficient models, I'm sure.

    I can see Toyota and its hybrid competitors extending the life cycle of a generation a bit in the face of slower sales, but petroleum is a wasting asset, and an interest in greater fuel efficiency is a permanent concern.

    Gasoline prices will inevitably rebound. The world's population grows, and the appetite for personal transportation follows suit.


     
Loading...