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    Toyota Reconsiders The Prius Strategy


    • Toyota goes back to drawing board with the Prius

    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)

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    Prius Family I believe will continue to shrink as Toyota and other companies like GM find ways to use the Hybrid plug in model on more common desired auto's. For GM, I hope the Equinox / Terrain ends up with a plug in Hybrid power train. My gut tells me the RAV4 Hybrid will do much better than the Prius V. After all everyone wants a CUV with better MPG but no loss in functionality.

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    People bought the Pruis to save on gas (even if the financials of that idea were sketchy), but taking the fuel savings aspect away, the Pruis was rather lousy as a car.  It handles poorly, has a lot of road and engine noise, every one I've driven has creaks and rattles, and they're ugly.  Now that gas is as low as $1.25 a gallon in some parts of the country, the fuel saving aspect is far less compelling and cannot overcome the negatives of the car.

     

    Other hybrids I've driven are actually decent at their primary task of being a car. You don't take an experience penalty to drive a Fusion Hybrid or Chevy Volt. You just get the normal, capable, Fusion and save fuel. In a Fusion hybrid, there is no downside outside of the price of admission to the hybrid theme park. 

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    Well, in the new MT test (which I think was poorly done)...

     

    The new Prius, despite its looks, they said really corrects many of the daily driving issues of previous generation cars. The car feels more substantial, not as much as the Volt, but the Volt is aided in that feel because of the heavy battery pack.

     

    And it beat its EPA estimates in their Real MPG test, that most hybrids fail to do really.

     

    I think, the car is quintessentially what Toyota is about. Take away the ugly styling, here you have a clearly Japanese-focused car. In the JDM market, it is the sales king, the car gets undoubtedly stellar mileage.

     

    And I think Volt still has the issue of being a more complicated car, that adds cost, and makes it less competitive on an entry starting point. 

     

    If there was any hybrid that was really just focused on mileage, it's Prius. But this generation, they've finally made it a daily car. And like Mini - it has its legacy quirks, part of the way the car is - is for it to be bizarre.

     

    Given how people actually drive cars, I think if someone told me they wanted efficiency first without the entry point of the Volt - handily get the Prius over the Fusion/Malibu/Camry/Sonata/Optima hybrids. Easily.

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      2016
      DSR %
      VOL %
      2017
      2016
      DSR %
      VOL %
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      143,048
      161,283
      -11.3
      -11.3
      143,048
      161,283
      -11.3
      -11.3
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV
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      140,350
      -9.2
      -9.2
      127,476
      140,350
      -9.2
      -9.2
      TOTAL LEXUS
      15,572
      20,933
      -25.6
      -25.6
      15,572
      20,933
      -25.6
      -25.6
                        YARIS IA (INCL SCI IA)
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      1,840
      6
      6
      1,951
      1,840
      6
      6
      YARIS LIFTBACK
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      142.7
      142.7
      1,330
      548
      142.7
      142.7
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      2,388
      37.4
      37.4
      3,281
      2,388
      37.4
      37.4
      iQ
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      2
      -100
      -100
      0
      2
      -100
      -100
      xD
      0
      3
      -100
      -100
      0
      3
      -100
      -100
      xB
      0
      782
      -100
      -100
      0
      782
      -100
      -100
      tC
      72
      715
      -89.9
      -89.9
      72
      715
      -89.9
      -89.9
      COROLLA IM (INCL SCI IM)
      1,460
      1,250
      16.8
      16.8
      1,460
      1,250
      16.8
      16.8
      COROLLA SEDAN
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      22,362
      -10.1
      -10.1
      20,107
      22,362
      -10.1
      -10.1
      TOTAL COROLLA
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      23,612
      -8.7
      -8.7
      21,567
      23,612
      -8.7
      -8.7
      86 (INCL FR-S)
      474
      507
      -6.5
      -6.5
      474
      507
      -6.5
      -6.5
      MIRAI
      83
      26
      219.2
      219.2
      83
      26
      219.2
      219.2
      AVALON
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      3,597
      -30.4
      -30.4
      2,503
      3,597
      -30.4
      -30.4
      PRIUS
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      9,311
      -15.9
      -15.9
      7,829
      9,311
      -15.9
      -15.9
      CAMRY
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      26,848
      -24.3
      -24.3
      20,313
      26,848
      -24.3
      -24.3
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. CAR
      56,122
      67,791
      -17.2
      -17.2
      56,122
      67,791
      -17.2
      -17.2
                        CT
      393
      622
      -36.8
      -36.8
      393
      622
      -36.8
      -36.8
      IS
      1,423
      2,178
      -34.7
      -34.7
      1,423
      2,178
      -34.7
      -34.7
      RC
      447
      755
      -40.8
      -40.8
      447
      755
      -40.8
      -40.8
      ES
      2,171
      3,400
      -36.1
      -36.1
      2,171
      3,400
      -36.1
      -36.1
      GS
      422
      1,298
      -67.5
      -67.5
      422
      1,298
      -67.5
      -67.5
      LS
      280
      397
      -29.5
      -29.5
      280
      397
      -29.5
      -29.5
      LFA
      0
      1
      -100
      -100
      0
      1
      -100
      -100
      TOTAL LEXUS CAR
      5,136
      8,651
      -40.6
      -40.6
      5,136
      8,651
      -40.6
      -40.6
      TOTAL TOYOTA CAR
      61,258
      76,442
      -19.9
      -19.9
      61,258
      76,442
      -19.9
      -19.9
                        SIENNA
      7,285
      10,992
      -33.7
      -33.7
      7,285
      10,992
      -33.7
      -33.7
      RAV4
      22,155
      21,554
      2.8
      2.8
      22,155
      21,554
      2.8
      2.8
      FJ CRUISER
      0
      1
      -100
      -100
      0
      1
      -100
      -100
      VENZA
      4
      184
      -97.8
      -97.8
      4
      184
      -97.8
      -97.8
      HIGHLANDER
      12,656
      11,258
      12.4
      12.4
      12,656
      11,258
      12.4
      12.4
      4RUNNER
      8,699
      7,496
      16
      16
      8,699
      7,496
      16
      16
      SEQUOIA
      1146
      852
      34.5
      34.5
      1,146
      852
      34.5
      34.5
      LAND CRUISER
      272
      273
      -0.4
      -0.4
      272
      273
      -0.4
      -0.4
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. SUV
      44,932
      41,618
      8
      8
      44,932
      41,618
      8
      8
                        TACOMA
      12,509
      12,717
      -1.6
      -1.6
      12,509
      12,717
      -1.6
      -1.6
      TUNDRA
      6,628
      7,232
      -8.4
      -8.4
      6,628
      7,232
      -8.4
      -8.4
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. PICKUP
      19,137
      19,949
      -4.1
      -4.1
      19,137
      19,949
      -4.1
      -4.1
      TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. TRUCK
      71,354
      72,559
      -1.7
      -1.7
      71,354
      72,559
      -1.7
      -1.7
                        NX
      2,964
      3,133
      -5.4
      -5.4
      2,964
      3,133
      -5.4
      -5.4
      RX
      5,520
      6,956
      -20.6
      -20.6
      5,520
      6,956
      -20.6
      -20.6
      GX
      1,418
      1,608
      -11.8
      -11.8
      1,418
      1,608
      -11.8
      -11.8
      LX
      534
      585
      -8.7
      -8.7
      534
      585
      -8.7
      -8.7
      TOTAL LEXUS TRUCK
      10,436
      12,282
      -15
      -15
      10,436
      12,282
      -15
      -15
      TOTAL TOYOTA TRUCK
      81,790
      84,841
      -3.6
      -3.6
      81,790
      84,841
      -3.6
      -3.6
      Selling Days
      24
      24
          24
      24
          DSR = Daily Selling Rate
                   
    • By William Maley
      Toyota has announced that October 3, 2017 will be the date it will cease Australian production at their plant in Altona - a suburb of Melbourne. The date is 17 days before Holden shutters its production line in Elizabeth. In a statement, Toyota is planning to keep the AM and PM shifts at the plant until the plant closes. This is to ensure the company meets their goal of 61,000 vehicles for the year - 26,600 domestic and 34,400 exports.
      "Our priority over the remaining months is to continue to support our employees in every way possible so that they are well prepared for the future," said Toyota Australia President Dave Buttner in a statement.
      "We remain extremely proud of our rich manufacturing history which spans over 50 years. Our employees are committed to producing vehicles of the highest quality as we work towards our goal of 'last car = best global car'."
      Toyota will begin phasing out production of various models beginning in August with the Aurion. This will be followed by the Camry Hybrid in September, and the standard Camry on October 3rd.
      Once the Altona plant is closed, Toyota will begin importing the 2018 Camry from Japan.
      Source: CarAdvice, Toyota
      Press Release is on Page 2


      31 January 2017
      TOYOTA AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES CLOSURE DATE
      Toyota Australia has today announced that Tuesday 3 October 2017 will be its final day of vehicle production at its Altona manufacturing plant.
      As part of the shutdown process, the plant will stop building Aurion vehicles in August, Camry Hybrid vehicles in September and Camry Petrol vehicles in October.
      The company will continue operating both AM and PM shifts until the final closure date. This will ensure the total volume production of 61,000 vehicles for the year, made up of 26,600 domestic and 34,400 exports, is met. 
      Toyota Australia President Dave Buttner reinforced the company's commitment to supporting employees throughout the transition period and beyond.
      "Our priority over the remaining months is to continue to support our employees in every way possible so that they are well prepared for the future," Mr Buttner said. 
      "We remain extremely proud of our rich manufacturing history which spans over 50 years. Our employees are committed to producing vehicles of the highest quality as we work towards our goal of 'last car = best global car'."
      As part of Toyota Australia's transition to a national sales and distribution company, the consolidation of all corporate functions from Sydney to Melbourne will take effect by 1 January 2018. 
      As a result of this consolidation and closure of manufacturing, the number of employees will reduce from 3,900 people to approximately 1,300. 
      The head office will continue to be based in Port Melbourne and most of the Altona manufacturing site will be retained for new and relocated functions.

      View full article
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