Will The Prius Usurp The Camry?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, sure seems to think so. “I think long-term, Prius as a nameplate could even outsell Camry as a nameplate, into this next decade,” he tells Wards Auto. When asked if the Prius’s success would trade off with the Camry, he replied in the negative, saying “I think Prius will become just that much stronger.” But it’s been a long time since a Prius-sized vehicle, let alone a hatchback, has been the best-selling car in the US. And perhaps Lentz was merely making the case for a full line of Prius-branded vehicles, an idea he says has not been approved, but remains his “dream.” Prius will need something to push it past its larger sibling. Both models set their all-time annual sales records in 2007, when the Camry sold 473,108 units, while Prius sold only 181,221 units.

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • Rudiger Rudiger on Nov 21, 2009

    Probably going to cannibalize a few Corolla/Matrix sales, as well. That's the problem with a new, successful vehicle. If the manufacturer has a wide range where some models are near the target market, it's inevitable there's going to be losses to the established nameplates. The hope is it will be minimal and the losses are more from conquest sales of other manufacturers. One of the best, past examples of this was in 1970 when Chrysler saturated the market with a wide array of musclecars. But instead of gaining sales from Ford or GM, the conquests were within Chrysler's own models. People bought Challengers instead of Chargers or Super Bees, or they bought Duster 340s instead of higher-profit Barracudas. The musclecar market was dying, anyway, but Chrysler's overlapping model lines really hastened the exit of most of their performance models. Within a few years, the only musclecars left at Chrysler were the 340-powered, compact A-bodies.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Nov 21, 2009
    In the crazy world of the hybrid sceptic, fighting wars and having the entire economy beholden to the will of oil owners is a good thing. These people should be dismissed and ignored. Stereotyping and silencing the opposition is a poor substitute for intellectual debate, and an unfortunate hallmark of the eco-movement.
  • Nutsaboutcars Nutsaboutcars on Nov 21, 2009

    The Prius, even the previous gen I drove in the Los Angeles area in April and June 09, and got 47-52-62 and 69 MPG (47 on the highway at 75 MPH), is a fantastic car, but I suspect only the return of $5 gas and the introduction of a Prius Wagon and/or coupe will make it match the sales of the capable but boring Camry.

  • M1EK M1EK on Nov 23, 2009

    The Prius does, in fact, pay off - even CR finally came around on this, and even against the (smaller) Corolla. If you compare it to Camries or Accords, it pays off quite quickly (although both are a little bigger). If you do the honest thing and compare to an imaginary car halfway in between the Corolla and Camry at a price halfway in between, it pays off quite nicely too.