By on December 9, 2015


Toyota announced Wednesday it would lower its global sales goal for the 2016 Prius in light of low fuel prices curbing sales of fuel-efficent vehicles.

According to Reuters, Toyota’s new target is to move an annual average of 300,000 to 350,000 Prii out of the lot around the world, compared to the 300,000 to 400,000 annual sales average sought for the outgoing model. A company representative said a decline in global sales of the hybrid since 2013 was one of the reasons behind Toyota’s decision.

At the same time, global oil prices fell by nearly half of what they were back when the descent began in mid-2014. In turn, pump prices also declined significantly, encouraging consumers to choose less-efficient vehicles instead of hybrids, EVs, and other green-tinged solutions.

In the U.S., pump prices are now at seven-year lows, which Toyota notes may be why sales of the Prius fell 12 percent in the U.S. in November 2015 when compared to the same month in 2014.

Despite those declines, however, Toyota is still king of the gasoline-hybrid mountain. Eight million of the 9 million gasoline-fueled hybrids sold around the world are wearing Toyota badges, 4 million of which are Prii.

The 2016 Prius hit showrooms in its home market Wednesday for ¥2.43 million ($19,808 USD) to start. The new hybrid will arrive in the U.S. and the rest of Asia in January, followed by European showrooms in February.

[Photo credit: Aaron Cole/The Truth About Cars]

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32 Comments on “Toyota Lowers 2016 Prius Global Sales Goal Over Low Oil, Fuel Prices...”

  • avatar

    The Prius may survive the global oil glut but I doubt many more electric or hybrids will. Maybe Tesla since they make electric sports cars. If oil reaches $20 per barrel, as has been suggested in many articles I’ve read in the last few days, all bets are off.

    • 0 avatar

      From a corporate perspective that seems shortsighted. Given the turnaround time on vehicle changes, you’d want to have hybrids and electrics developed and in production when the next oil price spike hits.

    • 0 avatar

      On the other hand there is news that the Saudi’s can’t keep oil prices down for ever and eventually will decrease production and the price will rise.

      • 0 avatar

        Saudi is no longer in the position it was to influence prices. Oil demand hasn’t grown much at all for awhile, and is less elastic than at virtually any time before. Saudi can’t afford to mothball too much production, lest the Jihadis take over the whole kingdon. And other parts of the world has brought new production on line, much of it heavily debt funded, so none of the operators can afford to shut down anything, since they need the cash for debt service. Everyone in the oil biz is a price taker now, even Saudi Arabia. At least until lower prices hurt Russia enough for Putin to get really serious about some localized Middle Eastern WW3.

        • 0 avatar

          They just did with the last OPEC meeting and the Saudis are not mothballing production, they are pumping a lot of oil which keeps prices down.

  • avatar

    I think the looks will affect sales the same, if not more than oil prices.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. Oil prices can change, but fugly is forever.

      • 0 avatar

        Ugly only exists as long as the people who consider it ugly are still alive. In my experience, once the original generation is gone, you can no longer say “it’s ugly,” only “it was considered ugly in its time.” Ask the average Joe what they think of the 1960 Plymouth.

        And exterior looks don’t matter once you’re behind the wheel. If you have an ugly car, drive it with pride.

    • 0 avatar

      More wishful thinking. For every internet commenter that thinks it’s ugly, there are 5 people who actually are interested in it and thinks it looks futuristic.

  • avatar

    Well, there are now a lot more fuel efficient vehicles out there that are not hybrids, –combine that with cheap fuel–and a Prius has to compete with a lot more cars based on factors other than fuel sipping.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is exactly the time to buy a fuel-efficient vehicle, or EV. I don’t understand the short-term thinking of many consumers.

    Fuel prices will only go up – maybe not over the next year, but likely beyond that.

    And there are killer deals everywhere on fuel sippers. We got our Optima Hybrid last year for 25% off MSRP.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree. Also, driving a very fuel efficient car such as the Prius helps insulate against any potential increase in gasoline prices.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup, now is a good time to buy a Prius while demand is relatively soft.

      It’s astounding to see people trading cars due to something as volatile as fuel prices.

      $4 gas is not going to make me sell my sports car, and $2 gas is not going to stop me from buying a Prius if I had ever wanted one to begin with.

      • 0 avatar

        People are so stupid, doing this. Dumping long term obligations for newer, longer term ones because of a two or three month drop in prices.

        “Shoot, we done went and got a new F-250, cause John Margarine at Channel Six tol’ me them done gas prices is goin down a wh’all.”

        NO STFU.

  • avatar

    Filled up for $1.64/gal today which per an inflation calculator is significantly cheaper than the 26 cents/gal I remember paying in 1967 when I got my first car.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d like to see someone do a cost-analysis on a PEV vs an ICE vehicle of the same class, size and weight.

      The cost of electricity in my area for Nov 2015 was $0.2093226 per kWh, before monthly fixed costs of $21.06. Both vary from month to month, based on the number of days and the actual cost of the electricity. I used well over 1000kWh during the past 30 days.

      If I were to plug in a PEV, how much would that raise my electric bill? And how would that increase in my electric bill compare to the cost of gasoline?

      Your 26 cents/gal in 1967 would be >$4/gal today, if my calculations are accurate.

      • 0 avatar

        We have two free-use charging stations here at work now. I could run an electric vehicle for zero costs power-wise because of my short commute.

        • 0 avatar

          CoreyDL, if you plugged it in at home, would you notice an increase in your electric bill? Other than one 110v outlet at the local McDonald’s, I don’t know of any dedicated charging stations in my area.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m sure I would notice, yes. I live alone and my electric bills are preeeety low.

            Last month my 10/15 – 11/15 electric total, $64.25

          • 0 avatar

            My electric bills are consistently ~ $200/month for a 6800 sq ft home in the desert, but a lot of that is driven by the swampcoolers in summer and the natgas heaters in winter. It’s a lot of space to cool or heat.

            Then again, electricity is kinda expensive in my area, and we’re saddled with added fixed costs paying for solar and wind development that is exported to the grid, none of it used in our area.

            A friend of mine asked me the question about the added cost of plugging in a PEV or PHEV, and I didn’t have an answer for him. For him it may just work because he lives in Las Cruces, the third largest city in NM.

  • avatar

    Yeah, they have no idea how to make people want this thing, so they made it uglier. Works for me!

  • avatar

    I am reminded of this classic.

  • avatar

    I have been a supporter of the Prius for the viable, affordable alternative propulsion that it presents. It has never been a good-looking car in my eyes, but its unique appearance was never offensive.

    This thing…I cannot stand for. The front looks like a failed plastic surgery, and the rest of the car looks like a 4-door GM EV1.

  • avatar

    New roof kills it as a mid-sizer. Everything is turning into the dorsal half of a Christian fish symbol. Just enough ergonomic space to barely clear front-row heads and those behind can just go fish.

  • avatar

    Saw a 2016 at the auto show and spent a while speaking with the rep. While still NOT an attractive vehicle, the interior is much improved. I will try driving one when available as the handling is much hyped as significantly improved.
    As to the price of fuel, to those paying under $2/gallon, congratulations. Here in Los Angeles, regular at my local station is $2.79 per gallon. Nationwide (worldwide) we are subject to the whims of oil producers most of whom are not stable and reliable producers. Saudi Arabia is suffering increasing political pressures. Venezuela, Mexico and Brazil have falling production. The Middle East remains a powder keg with many nations flying combat air patrols over a very small region. California faces a crunch on production with many mysterious shut downs for “maintenance” and the occasional industrial accident curtailing gasoline production.
    Highway mileage of newer compacts hovers at or over 40mpg, but the city mileage doesn’t come close to hybrid gas sipping.
    Do you want to buy/lease a Prius (or any hybrid) when gas is cheap and there are big subsidies and discounts? Or do you prefer to wait until gas is $5/gallon and there is a waiting list to pay list plus Additional Dealer Profit?

  • avatar

    Poor Toyota will just have to sell more Tundra’s and Sequoia’s.

    • 0 avatar

      Hell, I’ve got one of each, a 2011 Tundra 5.7 and a 2015 Sequoia 5.7. Very happy with both. Highly recommend them. But they’re not for the fuel-economy weak kneed. Both are pretty thirsty. Best overall mpg I got with either was 15mpg that included a long downhill slope.

  • avatar

    I applaud form follows function.

    I loathe form that follows a catbox and pulls out a nugget without the litter coating.

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