Welcome Back Toyota: Prius Plug-In Sales Soar to Near Record Levels in August

4 years ago by Jay Cole 21

Prius Plug-In Hybrid Leads Toyota's Advanced Vehicle Pack

Prius Plug-In Hybrid Leads Toyota’s Advanced Vehicle Pack

Unlike the all-time record for plug-in sales sold in a month set today with the Chevrolet Volt, or the personal best set by Nissan in August, we have to admit we did not see this coming.

Sales Certainly Seem to Have Been Recharged

Sales Certainly Seem to Have Been Recharged

Toyota sold 1,791 Prius plug-in hybrids in August; that is a little less than a hundred off their all-time high set last October, when 1,889 were sold.

However, it was the direction that Toyota had been trending recently that made this month’s result so special – specifically, the direction had been down.

Before August, Toyota’s best month for 2013 was only 817 units (July).  So this was not just a beat of the number, but a massive beat – up 119% over June.

What was the reason for the increase?  It is hard to say.  Toyota did offer 60 month 0% financing, some deep discounts on 2013 inventory and a cash back program for buyers…but nothing to indicate this kind of improvement.  It seems like an extra thousand people just got up one morning and said, “Hey lets go buy a Toyota plug-in.”

Prius Family Sales

Prius Family Sales

Separately the rest of the ‘Prius Family’ achieved some decent results as the standard hybrid version was up 17% and up 25% overall when factoring in the 65% increase in the plug-in version and the 54% bump in the smaller Prius C.

Year to date, Toyota has managed to improve on last year and is up 12% over 2012 with 6,822 Prius PHVs sold.

For August, the trio of the Prius PHV, Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF alone outsold the entire plug-in group last month 7,592 to 6,742.

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21 responses to "Welcome Back Toyota: Prius Plug-In Sales Soar to Near Record Levels in August"

  1. GeorgeS says:

    These numbers should make a good pop in total plug in sales. I’d like to see the plot.

  2. Anthony says:

    In my mind I had the lofty goal of 10,000 plug-ins sold in August, but I didn’t expect to get there. Now we’re about 750 short with Ford to still report (what I expect to be about 1,000 units), so we might actually get there, thanks in part to stellar sales all around!

    1. Mark H says:

      I think we are all thinking the same. That is exactly the first thought as soon as I read the number. Could it be the first 10,000 month?????

  3. vdiv says:

    It was probably waking up one August morning and saying “Hey, let’s buy a Prius! Look, this one has a plug yet it costs about the same as Prius Five. Let’s get the one with the plug! Not that we plan on ever bothering to plug it in.” 😉

    Ok, that may be a bit unfair, but the cost parity point is near.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      That was unfair. PiP owners plug in a lot.

      1. Rick Danger says:

        They have to. It only goes about 8 miles on electricity.

      2. scottf200 says:

        We have read where some bought it strictly for carpool / HOV lane access and were not worried about plugging it in. Electricity in some places in CA can make it cost the same as gas.

        1. Spec says:

          Which is why it should not be allowed to get a carpool lane sticker. Grrr.

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      And it should be pointed out that it’s only close to the Five if you’re mug enough not to buy it from a state where Toyota offers large incentives.

  4. DrInnovaiton says:

    great numbers for the Pip. Any chance there is some fleet sales in these numbers? Anyway to find out?

  5. Bloggin says:

    Toyota offered heavy incentives to dump ballooning inventory of all their models last month. It seems their ‘whatever it takes’ mandate to keep Camry #1 and dig Prius from underwater has been put into action.

    For example, of Prius models imported from japan, the plug-in was the same lease price as a Prius lift back, and both(along with most all Toyota models) with Zero Down and Zero due at signing or Zero percent interest for at long as you want to go.

    Which is interesting that even at being the same price as the base Prius lift back, Toyota still was not able to move more of the plug-in models. Which could mean that if the consumer was looking for a plug-in, a 21 EV mile C-MAX Energi or 40 EV mile Volt was a better option, even if they did cost more.

    And the Prius c was just $199/mo with only $1,000 down…and Zero tax or title payment.

    So this was more of dumping Japanese imported Prius overstock on to American, that could not sell in Japan due to reduction of incentives. With this dumping, Toyota finally pulled Prius sales volume out of the red, but without huge incentives, the 4 cars called Prius are sure to slide right back under water by end of year.

    It will also be interesting to see how the RAV4 EV did with it’s huge incentives.

    1. David Murray says:

      Yeah, I see your point. Somebody looking to buy a plug-in car probably will not consider the PiP much. I bet most of the PiP sales come from people who were in the market for a Prius already and the salesman showed them the PiP at roughly the same cost.. its sort of a no-brainer even if the customer decides to never plug it in. The C-Max Energi is essentially in the same position due to the tax credit, however many people can’t live with the trunk space and the limited production hampers it too.

  6. David Murray says:

    That is a really impressive number considering the vehicle is only available in limited markets. I still can’t buy one in Texas (not that I personally want one).

  7. pjwood says:

    Loyalty

  8. Spec says:

    1791 PiPs?!? Is the August plug-in vehicle total going to be close to 10K?!?

  9. Rick Danger says:

    Hmmm is that the IQ-EV up there in the “Toyota’s Advanced Vehicle Pack”? The car that was so lame they only sold 100 of them? The car with the 50 mile range?

    Consumer ignorance is the only reason to buy a PIP. The damned thing can barely make it down the block before it needs recharging. I hope most PIP owners don’t plug it in, or you’ll see them hogging every public charger they can find.

    1. Spec says:

      The IQ-EV was only a limited release program. If they were to stick more batteries in there it could make a decent compliance car.

      And yeah, the PiP is crap. We all know Toyota can do much better. I assume they are intentionally not doing EVs or PHEVs well because that would draw attention away from their enormously successful and more profitable conventional hybrids.

    2. Jesse Gurr says:

      What is that SUV to the far left? That isn’t the FCV-ADV is it? That isn’t a plug-in.

  10. Ocean Railroader says:

    What is shocking about this was I thought that the Chevy Volt price cut would slaughter the PiP but instead something very strange happened the Chevy Volt went on to set a record while the Nissan Leaf did the same thing and the Pip jumped almost 900 to 1000 cars sold all while these other major electric cars that I thought that would gore in to it did very well while this car did very well. The contusion of all of this is that the overall pie that is the plug in car market grew 40% to 50% with more buyers many of which most likely have never before owned a EV before are starting to jump in. If we are lucky this will back feed into the system and bring in more buyers into the EV market.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Seems like plug-in volumes are increasing overall (well, certainly in August) versus stealing sales from other plug-ins… I hope that trend continues.

  11. Bill Howland says:

    I wish someone would explain to me how come the PIP is so much more expensive than a standard Prius.. The 4.4 kwh battery simply can’t cost that much more over the standard Prius….

    Or is Toyota turning the PIP into a sole profit center by demanding a much larger profit margin than on the rest of their product line in general?