Sales Drop Dims Toyota's Shining Sales Star Prius
|   Monday, September 15, 2014
A year-long sales slide has dimmed the star of Toyota sales, the hybrid Prius, as they have continue to see their sales off month-to-month in 2014.

For August, the last month for which there is complete data, Prius sales were off by 14 percent. However, the 23,474 Prius models that moved off dealer lots is no small matter. Even though it is down, the figure is still quite good.

According to combined sources ranging from the 24/7 financial news site to Bloomberg News and Yahoo's Financial News Service, the reason for the dip is most likely internal competition.
This simply means that Toyota is cannibalizing its own sales because it is offering hybrids in its popular Camry and Corolla lines.

Another likely area that could account for the sales dip is simply the competition. Ford and Honda are selling hybrid versions of the cars in their most popular lines. This means that Ford's successful and sales-leading Fusion and its popular Focus are available as standard gasoline vehicles, as well as in hybrid form. Likewise, Honda is offering hybrid versions of its popular Accord and Civic.

Honda has been feeling the same pressure, though. Their slow selling hybrid-only Insight, revived a couple of years ago as people began rushing to hybrids to help beat the high cost of driving, has again been shelved, according to a recent press accounts. Their other hybrid lines are apparently still doing well as nothing has been said about shelving them.

According to industry observers, Toyota's Prius has not only been the victim of internal competition, but also the market is far more a black hole for Prius than it was a just three years ago when it was the unquestioned leader of the hybrid market.

Year after year, Prius has led the hybrid market in sales. Even during the hard years of 2008 to 2009, Prius still sold well. Indeed, since its debut in 1997 Toyota has sold nearly 4 million Prius models. That's quite it an accomplishment. Its combined total sales for that period represent more than the combined sales of some automakers for those years. The key to the size of its accomplishment is to remember that this is only one division of Toyota.

Since the start of the year, Prius is off a total of 11.5 percent or its sales have dipped to 151,213 Prius models. This figure, like Prius' combined sales, represents more than the sales of some makes in the market. It is no small feat, given the intense competition that Toyota faces. Every major automaker now offers some form of hybrid or electric car.

Even Toyota has climbed onto the electric bandwagon having added a plug-in version of the Prius only this year.

Even though its sales are off, Prius remains in the top 20 cars sold which is no small feat after a year-long sales slide. It remains in the top 20 in the face of competition from Ford's popular Fusion and its subcompact Focus, as well as its hatchback C-MAX, all of which are offered in gas-only or hybrid versions. All three Ford lines are in the top 20, as well.

Honda, too, is offering stiff competition to Prius as the hybrid versions of its popular Accord, Civic and CR-Z. When you factor in gasoline vehicle sales with strong hybrid sales, you have a potent combination. That combination has, like Ford, place three models also in the top 20.

In a word, Prius sales have dropped. Gone are its glory days of easy sales in a market it had virtually to itself. The only competition it faced are off from the days when the easy sales were all Prius as the only competition available was from Honda and one model from Ford, at that time. Now the market is rather crowded and Prius sales have softened, but they haven't tanked. Its sales have dipped to 151,213 for the year, a very respectable record for a car whose sales have dropped.
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