Featured Toyota Prius Was a Trendsetter 15 Years Ago. Now What?

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Tideland Prius, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Full article: Toyota Prius was a hybrid trendsetter 15 years ago. Now what?
     
  2. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Reasonable write-up - mostly USA focused, I suspect - here, Hybrids are still ramping up, and expecting to do so for the next 5+ years.

    Our new Corolla SEDAN has now approx the same l/100 as PRIUS - and is selling well - not sure why the SEDAN has appreciably better economy than the hatch?

    PRIUS sales have dwindled dramatically in the past 3 or 5 years - CAMRY Hybrids are more common in TAXIs than PRIUS or PRIUS v now. And RAV4 Hybrid is still months of waiting, with almost no stock on hand of, particularly, the Cruiser model in either AWD or FWD (upmarket version).

    I suspect my next car won't be a PRIUS, but will still be a Hybrid.
     
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  3. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    I traveled last week to California and both Taxis I rode in were Prii. I even saw a Gen 4 Taxi at the airport.
     
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  4. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Great article.

    This is the only statement in it that I can't agree with. I don't think there would be any harm in letting the Prius name/brand vanish.
     
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Active Member

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    I agree, decent write up, and I do think something will change with the next Gen of Prius. Doubt Toyota would kill the brand completely given the long term success, but rather change the mission. My opinion is rather than have a hybrid and PHEV variant, the PHEV will be the ‘standard platform’ (with improved battery packaging), with an option for full EV. Sort of like Hyundai with the Ioniq, but minus the Hybrid option (since Corolla can fill that role). Probably in 2022, I suspect 2021 will be a carryover.

    Just my opinion.
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    I have the sense they tried changing the mission in 2016, and missed the mark, as evidenced by the steady decline in sales. Really hope they keep the good and ditch the glitz in 2021, but not counting on it.
     
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  7. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Yes, I hear that in LONDON too (UBER etc) - but here, probably because they were making the CAMRY Hybrid here for a few years, and the CAMRY was cheaper than PRIUS. But the PRIUS v was more common than Gen 3 for TAXIs toward the end - due to luggage carrying capacity on Airport runs etc. I haven't seen a Gen 4 TAXI ever here.
     
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  8. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    I think that is key. We have the Camry Hybrid here too but the Prius can be less expensive.
     
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  9. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    When I go to Manhattan, I see tons of these.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Unfortunately, you can only be the trendy "new" thing once.
    You can have the panache and momentum of being that coveted, mysterious, new product, but then with it's own success it's going to fade. Remember when Prius dominated the arrival at the Oscars? Remember when you got a list of every star in Hollywood that owned a Prius?
    Remember when YOU yourself didn't know exactly what a Prius could do, or how a Hybrid operated?
    All that fades.

    For the most part, right now the purchasable vehicle that seemingly most captures that momentum, is Tesla's products. And right now, IMO, they are out of the financial reach of the mass mainstream.

    So where does Prius go from here?

    Well when we weren't looking, the Prius family disappeared.
    I haven't seen such a direct move against a family, since the final segment of the Godfather.
    I think Toyota still strongly supports the Prius, Prius Prime, but it does seem the Hybrid evolution is simultaneously moving towards hybrid versions of existing products.

    Personally, I'm not sure Toyota got the message out about the Prius Prime well enough, or clearly enough. I think as a Prius and as a Hybrid product-plug in it IS a significant evolution. But outside of closed circles of ownership and environments like Prius Chat do people realize that?
    Upon release Toyota heralded Gen 4, for it's sporty looks, and it's "uncompromised" driving characteristics. And really downplayed it's HYBRID capabilities.
    I kind of think, this was a mistake.

    However as far as the future goes? I don't really think Toyota has to do anything Toyota hasn't already done, over decades and generations. That is just continue to improve the product. And I do think, remember that I believe, most people interested or considering purchasing a Hybrid, will make that decision based on the vehicle BEING a hybrid, and all the advantages that creates.
    Yes, you do have to keep up and improve the looks, styling, and driving capabilities BUT...IMO those are never really going to be the PRIMARY reasons anyone buys a Hybrid. MPG and Efficiency are the Hybrid difference makers. I think in promoting Gen 4, Toyota kind of abandoned this aspect of promotion.
     
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  11. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    I don't believe so. People buying a hybrid because it was a hybrid topped out around 3-4% market share.
    Hybrids require high prices of gasoline to get much beyond 3%.

    Without those high prices, the hybrids have to compete on other vehicle aspects and try to draw in other parts of the market.

    I think the article was very well done and identifies the best way forward for hybrid technology is to spread it through to other vehicles.
    Prius needs to reshape itself to again be on the leading edge. That may possibly be hydrogen in Japan. But really should be BEV in most of the world.
     
  12. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I agree...to an extent.
    In a economy and infrastructure STILL dominated by fossil fuel, and gasoline, Hybrids, Full Electrics are always going to represent only a percentage of market share, and probably a small percentage in comparison to total sales of all vehicles.
    But as a product, over decades, Toyota has sold a LOT of Prius.

    Gas Prices?
    Sure they spur interest, and some level of purchase. 50 mpg looks more enticing when gas is $4.50 a gallon, as opposed to $3.00. But I don't think Hybrids need to, or even do depend on high gas prices to be a desirable product.
    I bought my Prius when gas prices were relatively low and stable, and they remained low and stable throughout my ownership, and it wasn't even a factor I worried about, or that influenced my decision to purchase.

    Saving on fuel cost, is saving on fuel cost...whatever the overall price of gasoline might be. I enjoyed my Prius fuel savings whatever the price at the pump happened to be. Because whatever I was paying to get from point A to point B, it was always cheaper from a fuel cost perspective than my friends with huge trucks.

    I wouldn't argue that if gasoline suddenly jumped up into the $4.00-$5.00 a gallon range, renewed, and "new" interest wouldn't be created.but I wouldn't go so far as to say "Hybrids REQUIRE high gasoline prices" to be a successful product. Many owners, enjoy the relative savings regardless of going cost per gallon, not to mention the ecological and environmental benefits afforded a low emissions vehicle.
     
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  13. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Prius = gasoline/electric hybrid
    Mirai = hydrogen FCEV
    (no name yet) = BEV

    The branding plan is already pretty clear to me. They could spend money cancelling out their prior efforts and confusing the public, but why?

    They retired the Tercel name when it was time to kick off a new generation of small fuel efficient cars; they can retire the Prius name when it's time to kick off a new generation of small fuel-free cars.
     
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  14. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Turning a blind-eye to what has happened with RAV4 and instead making a generic industry-wide assessment is what?
     
  15. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Hey, my parent owned a Tercel for large portion of my childhood. It was a good, economical vehicle for it's time period. I learned to stick shift drive on a Tercel.
    I don't know the reasoning Toyota used in evolving the branding of their "entry level" small vehicle. I mean they sold the Tercel, then released the Echo, today we have something they promote as Yaris. Sometimes I think it's as basic as change the platform, change the look, change the name.
    All my friends when I was a kid called the Tercel the Turdcel.....so maybe it was never a great name to start with?

    You can never really say NEVER. But I would speculate Toyota would be hard pressed however to ever retire Prius. It's been their benchmark, built from the ground up hybrid, and flagship hybrid. The NAME Prius is synonymous with Hybrid.
    I tend to think that as long as Toyota is selling ANY hybrids...there will be a Prius.

    Now you'll excuse me...I have to go fire up my Toyota Corona, and my Celica needs waxing.
     
  16. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Likely better aero. The longer length and lack of squared off back makes that easier on the sedan.

    Rav4 hybrid sales are great, but they aren't making up for the loss of Prius sales. The hybrid segment's share is lower than during the Prius' high point when gas prices were high. Introduction of new models has mostly just kept the segment steady instead of growing it.
     
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  17. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    How are you able to draw that conclusion with so little data?

    I can just as easily counter your claim with the spike in mid-cycle Prius sightings recently.
     
  18. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    The data we do have indicates that the RAV4 hybrid sales in 2019 have basically brought Toyota hybrids back to their peak of 180k sales. Surpassing it a bit when you add the other non-Prius hybrids.

    I concluded this with data in the linked article and data from goodcarbadcar.com.

    If you have better data, please share. Since the data at the hybrid cars website stopped it is more difficult to find data.

    If you haven’t read the OP’s original article, please do. I believe you would agree with much of it.
     
  19. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    the wiki list - iirc shows very similar drag CD's for these two .... .28 - . 29 CD

    not so sold in the blunt back end theory as being the culpret/difference .... the model 3 is somewhat squared off ....

    Unplugged-Performance-Tesla-Model-3-Aerondynamic-Study_02.jpg

    & yet it yields a. 23 CD.
    Not understanding the blind eye slogan - but what RAV4 success shows, seemingly, is folks in the US like SUV-ish rides ... thinking bigger and more weight & sitting up higher makes you feel safer & able to avoid collisions better.
    A hybrid RAV4 gets another Plus for the best mileage. The trade-off, for people still willing to ride in a sedan means it takes away potential sales of hybrid sedans, whether it be a Corolla Prius, Camry or whatever.
    .
     
    #19 hill, Jan 26, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  20. noonm

    noonm Senior Member

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    Once Toyota gets over their electrophobia, the Prius is well-suited for an all-electric version.
     
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