Back in 2011, the brand predicted that the Prius nameplate would be its top-selling model lineup by 2020, but the current surge in truck and SUV sales brought on by cheap fuel prices is forcing Toyota to consider the future of the Prius C subcompact, Prius V station wagon and Prius plug-in hybrid.
The V in particular has a new challenger coming from inside Toyota’s showroom. “We’ll have to see how well the RAV4 Hybrid does,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America. “Because the RAV4 could really take the place of the Prius V.”
Since Toyota expanded the Prius family in 2011 and 2012 it has moved 999,516 vehicles across the U.S., but two-thirds of those sales came from the standard Prius. The Prius C has been the most successful variant, selling 156,766 copies since 2012, while the larger Prius V has sold 143,212 times since 2011. The Prius plug-in hybrid has only sold 42,293 examples in the past four years.
Toyota expects Prius sales to jump by about 30 percent this year thanks to the introduction of a new model, but still, Toyota Division general manager Bill Fay says it is too early to say for sure whether the Prius C, V and plug-in hybrid will be returning to the U.S.