By on February 4, 2020

We told you late last year how the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is the hybrid the Toyota Prius wishes it could be. The two models have essentially swapped positions, with eco-minded American consumers now eschewing the pius hatch in favor of the brawnier image and accommodating cabin of the gas-electric compact CUV.

It brings to mind this morning’s QOTD, frankly.

End-of-year sales starkly illustrated the diverging paths of these two models. This week, the automaker is basking in more good sales news, both for hybrids and conventional vehicles. On the electrified front, at the very least, there’s good reason for Toyota to be very optimistic about 2020. (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2019

2020 Toyota Prius and RAV4 Hybrid - Images: Toyota CanadaYou weren’t crazy. In 2000, when the Toyota Prius first arrived in the United States only slightly behind the Honda Insight, it wasn’t unreasonable for you to wonder whether the odd little duck had a future. And to be fair, it didn’t. It wasn’t until Toyota launched a new generation of the Prius as a more practical liftback for MY2004 that a hybridized future appeared plausible.

With little in the way of competition, Toyota sold 107,897 copies of the Prius in the U.S. in 2005. That made the Prius more popular than the Volkswagen Jetta and Mazda 3; more popular than the Toyota RAV4, as well. By 2012, Toyota had expanded the Prius family to include a plug-in, a subcompact Prius C, and a Prius V wagon. The result: U.S. Prius sales peaked at 236,655 units in 2012.

And then, for the Prius, it all fell apart. Half a decade later, total Prius sales were less than half that strong. In 2019, Toyota is tracking toward fewer than 70,000 U.S. Prius sales, the worst year for the nameplate since 2004.

Yet Toyota is on a pace for its hybrid family to earn roughly 226,000 sales in 2019. Granted, those aren’t 2012 levels. And selling at that level does require an array of hybrid options. But regardless, it’s clear Toyota has found its Prius replacement. As the Prius’s star fades, the RAV4 Hybrid is now Toyota’s primary hybrid volume driver. (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2019

Image: Toyota

There’s no idling of plants at the Big T. With news of electrified versions of the RAV4 Hybrid and Lexus ES heading to Kentucky for the first time, Toyota is set to invest a further $749 million into its American operations, adding hundreds of jobs across five states.

This builds on a commitment made by the company a couple of years ago, one in which it pledged to invest about $10 billion (with a “b”) by 2021. Those of you with sharp memories will recall that’s the year a new manufacturing facility is scheduled to open, one which marks the start of a joint venture with Mazda and the creation of 4,000 jobs in the great state of Alabama.

(Read More…)

By on May 21, 2016

2016_Toyota_Prius_001_2452A99B7A0DE853E9CCBFC12E5E78A937FFFBE2

It’s easy to understand Toyota’s enthusiasm for selling 9 million hybrids worldwide since 1997. (Well, 9.014 million, but who’s counting?)

After all, have you sold 9.014 million hybrids? Don’t lie. You haven’t.

Toyota’s announcement comes as the world’s largest automaker accepts a challenge (from itself) to bring the total number of hybrid models sold to 15 million by 2020. It will do that by introducing more hybrid versions of its vehicles, then selling — it hopes — 1.5 million of them each year. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2016

2016 Totota RAV4 Hybrid Exterior-003

A few short weeks ago, I was inside a very purple 2016 RAV4 marveling that Toyota’s compact crossover nearly outsells the Mazda brand. My bottom line for that RAV4 read like this:

Why are the RAV4’s sales so high when there are more fun options out there? The reasons can be found in its strong value proposition, a soft ride about which journalists often complain, included scheduled maintenance and Toyota’s reputation for reliability.

The 2016 RAV4 isn’t going to light many souls on fire, but it gives the average CUV shopper more of what they obviously want.

Except fuel economy or performance.

That’s where the first full-hybrid compact crossover since Ford abandoned the Escape Hybrid five years ago comes in.

(Read More…)

By on March 31, 2015

TOYOYA_2015_PRECOLLISION_SYSTEM

When Toyota and Lexus reveal their respective crossovers at the 2015 New York Auto Show, both will come with low-cost automated braking safety packages.

(Read More…)

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