New (old) model
Toyota is updating the Prius, its pioneering hybrid model, some 22 years since the car first hit the US market. Now into its fifth generation, the Japanese carmaker’s iconic eco-friendlier vehicle is losing favor with climate-conscious consumers. Sales have fallen nearly every year since 2012 — when more than 230,000 vehicles in the Prius family were sold in the US.
Out of gas
The new Prius will launch in Japan, Europe, and North America in 2023 and comes with some enhanced climate credentials, like its 50% boosted EV driving range and improved solar power capabilities. However, with growing emphasis on (and consumer interest in) fully-electrified models, it’s not entirely clear where the Prius plugs into the market.
The company confirmed, for instance, that the new model would not be on sale in the UK due to waning demand, and it’s not just Britain either. US Prius sales could be on for their worst year since 2004, with just under 30,000 sold so far in 2022.
Toyota does have plans to become a little more Tesla by 2030, with a pledge to push 50% of its spending in the next 8 years into the battery electric vehicle game (where they only have one car at the moment). But they don't seem ready to say goodbye to an old favorite just yet.