Back in 2011, Toyota made a very bold prediction; the Prius would be the best-selling Toyota model in the U.S. by the end of this decade. This seemed legitimate as gas prices had been climbing a steady rate and the Prius was the most popular hybrid. But that meant beating the Toyota Camry which in 2010 sold 327,104 models (the Prius only sold 140,928 models in 2010). To do this, Toyota would create the Prius family with the introduction of the Prius C, V, and Plug-In Hybrids.
Five years on after this bold prediction, Toyota is reconsidering their plans. Thanks to lower gas prices (and in turn, consumers returning to pickups and crossovers) and models such as the Camry, Corolla, and RAV4 outselling it by a large margin, Toyota is now saying the Prius won't achieve that lofty goal.
"Given all the changes in consumers' preferences right now, I don't think we're forecasting the Prius to be our top volume seller anymore," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager to Automotive News.
Part of the reconsideration deals with the Prius C and V. Fay said Toyota is planning to "reinvest" in the C and V. But whether or not a second-generation happens for either model is still too early to tell.
The V's future is in doubt more than the C because of a new hybrid model - the RAV4 Hybrid. While the RAV4 doesn't come close to matching the Prius V's fuel economy numbers (34 City/31 Highway/33 Combined for RAV4 Hybrid, 44 City/40 Highway/42 Combined for the Prius V), it does offer slightly more practicality and the option of all-wheel drive.
"We'll have to see how well the RAV4 Hybrid does. Because the RAV4 could really take the place of the Prius V," Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)