Toyota is getting frisky. Per a press release, Toyota U.S.A. reports brisk sales of the game-changing Prius c compact hybrid. Then, TMS goes on to say that “In its first three days on the market, it sold 1,201 units, making it one Toyota’s fastest-selling vehicles and eclipsing Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf sales for the entire month of February.”
This is highly unusual for the usually very careful and buttoned-up company. Even in private talks and after five Asahi Super Dry, you never hear anything negative about a competitor from a Toyota-san, or, for that matter, anything at all.
The comment that the Priuc c sold more cars in three days than the Volt in a month is most likely a subtle ribbing in the direction of Detroit. There, GM CEO Dan Akerson had claimed that “Toyota sold about the same amount of Prius in its first year as the Volt in its first year.”
The original Toyota Prius was launched in Japan in December 1997. In its first year, the Prius sold some 18,000 cars. The Chevrolet Volt was launched in the U.S. in December 2010. In its first year, the Chevrolet Volt had sold some 8,000 cars. That would be less than half of what the Prius sold in 1998.
After we had pointed out that small discrepancy, a vociferous posse of Akerson apologists appeared, claiming that their CEO had referred to the U.S. introduction of the Prius. Too bad that they had not checked those data either: In the U.S., the first recorded sales month of the Prius was July 2000. Sales Prius U.S. July 2000 through June 2001: 12,968, data according to Automotive News.
Any which way you spin it, Akerson was wrong. Not in the eyes of his trusted acolytes: Some claim to this day that 8,000 is more that 18,000 or 13,000. The new math must be contagious.