Prius Celebrates Ten Years In US; B&B: What Will Prius Sales Be In 2020?

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
prius celebrates ten years in us b b what will prius sales be in 2020

10-10-10 marks the tenth anniversary of the first Prius sold in the US. A total of 5800 of the pioneering hybrids were sold in that first year. North American sales peaked with 183.8k in 2007, and then drooped, and are pacing to 141k units in 2010.

Note how Japan’s Prius sales have boomed, surpassing NA, as a result of government incentives. What does the future hold for NA Prius sales in the next ten years?

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  • Don1967 Don1967 on Oct 11, 2010

    Projecting strong future Prius sales at this stage - now that the oil bubble, the global warming mania, and government inducements are all over - is a bit like Disco Stu's prediction of future record sales based on 1976 trends. Past performance is definitely not guaranteed. That is not to say that fuel economy will go out of style... nor should it. But complex hybrid fashion accessories almost certainly will. The near-term future belongs to simplicity, downsizing, and more efficient ICE powertrains.

  • Sundowner Sundowner on Oct 11, 2010

    Prius has been riding the wave of popularity becuase of its brand recognition. Will that last? who's to say? Hybrids and the eventual successor electric vehicles are here to stay. They may be overly complex compared to other drivetrains, but that's comparing a new technology to a mature technology, and that's unfair. Anyone who's seen how VW's clean diesel engine systems work would probably agree than a hybrid is probably already simpler in construction and operation. people need to keep persepective; there was a time when fuel injection was impractical. there was a time when turbocharging was impractical. And let's not forget the wildly impractical Me262 jet fighter from WWII. It broke down all the time and wasted fuel. good thing those jet engines never caught on, eh?

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    • MikePDX MikePDX on Oct 11, 2010

      Agreed, Sundowner. Don, it's actually quite a remarkable engine - Atkinson cycle, which is more efficient but lacks low end torque. Since electric motors have low end torque in abundance, the two compliment nicely. 'Hybrid Synergy Drive' is an apt term for it. The devil is in the details - Toyota said at introduction the hardest part was the software. Hardly a bolt-together job, it's taken a huge amount of hard engineering, and it works. We'll see various mixes of combustion and battery systems as the transition to full-electric unfolds over the next 25 years. Prius will be a major player. Near-term I see the two-car household with a plug-in hybrid for trips and larger loads and a full electric logging local commute miles. (I wish someone would do a light affordable pure-electric sports car for my commute, say an eMiata. The Leaf is so big and heavy (and weird-looking). I'll have to convert one myself I guess.) It's a fascinating time for car technology, best in a lifetime. PS: I'm no hypermiler, I'm a lifelong car guy and I like to drive fast. The 2010 Prius gets me 46-48 real mileage daily, better on the highway. About 10% better than the smaller and slower 2001 model.

  • Arthur Dailey I grew up in an era when a teenager could work pumping gas or bussing tables and be able to purchase a vehicle for a couple of thousand dollars and drive it with 'uninsured' status.If a parent advised on the purchase of the vehicle, they would most often point us to a large, stripped/base version, domestic sedan with the smallest possible engine.These cars generally had terrible driving dynamics and little to no safety features, but were easy to work, had large bench seats/interiors and not enough power to get out of their own way.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'll guess: 3rd owner, never did even basic maintenance, major component failed, car got towed from the apartment complex parking lot, no one bought it at auction because the repair bill exceeded the value.The chrome pillar appliques support this hypothesis.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm generally in the "I want them to have all the new safety stuff" camp, but new cars are both too fast and too isolating these days. They mask speed enough that a new driver can get way in over his head without really realizing he's even going that fast. This is especially a concern with my youngest, who wants to do everything he does faster. (He has zero fear tearing down hills at 25 mph on his little 20" wheel bike.) I'm hoping for something that is slow and communicates speed well, although I'm not quite sure there is any such thing in today's market.
  • KOKing I test-drove a used Equus Ultimate (the one with all the back seat doodads) that was a trade-in at a Ford dealer, and although it was VERY nice to be in as a Lexus LS with Ultra Luxury, it was supposedly in a minor fender-bender that probably wasn't repaired correctly (like a pinched bus cable or something?), and random features didn't work at all.I think this car suffered the same problem in the US that the VW Phaeton did, and probably would've done better if it was badged a Genesis from the get-go.
  • Analoggrotto Tesla owners are still smarter than anyone else, regardless.