Toyota Looks To Keep 2013 Prius Plug-In Sales On Pace With 2012. Kinda. Not Really.

MAR 5 2013 BY JAY COLE 11

2013 Toyota Prius, Now With $4,650 Cash Back To Spur Sales

2013 Toyota Prius, Now With $4,650 Cash Back To Spur Sales

About a year ago next week, Toyota introduced the plug-in Prius to the world.

For those who are not familiar with the car, the electric Prius is basically the same set-up as the standard Prius hybrid, but can also drive about 11 miles on electricity (in blended mode according to the EPA) thanks to a larger electric motor, and a a 4.4 kWh lithium battery pack.  The Prius PHV has a MPGe rating of 95.

The car does has some limitations, as the electric drive can not maintain speeds of over 62 mph, and can not be driven aggressively with hopes to stay solely powered by electricity.  However, the Prius is a hybrid first, and an EV second; so it that regard, these infractions are forgivable.

For 2012, Toyota sold 12,750 copies of it plug-in, and Toyota Division Group Vice President Bill Fay (in an interview with Ward’s Auto) says that they company hopes to match that figure with 12,000-13,000 new sales in 2013, even if that means some heavier discounting…within reason.

“I don’t know that we have to necessarily go around and match everybody. But I think we have to be cognizant of the world those shoppers are operating in…and we have to be sure we offer the same kind of value when they go to buy the vehicle.”

Toyota Prius PHV Front Cabin

Toyota Prius PHV Front Cabin

Current Prius PHV deals (according to Wards) can be very regional, with some areas (like New York) offering up to $6,500 of 2012s, and $4,650 of 2013s, while in southern California, only a $1,650 discount can be had.  The Toyota Prius PHV base price starts at $32,000 and can be leased as low as $229 for 36 months with $1,999 down, or financed at 0% for 60 months.

Current $229 Lease Offer On 2012 New Prius PHV (click to enlarge to see fine print)

Current $229 Lease Offer On 2012 New Prius PHV (click to enlarge to see fine print)

Bill Fay says that up until recently, the bulk of Toyota PHV purchases have been purchases, a trend not seen in other vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF that are heavily skewed to leasing.

This bias to purchasing over leasing may be due to the plug-in Prius’ smaller Federal government spiff of $2,500, as compared to $7,500 for vehicles with batteries 16 kWh or greater.  These credits generally can be taken as a stright cap-cost reduction on leases at point of sale, making competitors lease rates more attractive.

Still, Mr. Fay thinks that “…in the long run it’s going to be a good lease vehicle.”

It should be noted that by hoping to achieve 12,000 to 13,000 Prius PHV sales in 2013, Toyota is actually predicting to sell less cars on the average in 2013 than 2012, as the 2012 plug-in Prius was introduced late in the first quarter of 2012.

With these lower year-over year projections, it seems like Toyota maybe realizing that the extended range competition has gotten a lot fiercer for 2013; with not only the Chevrolet Volt eating at Prius PHV sales, but also the likes of the Ford C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi.

Ward’s Auto

Categories: Toyota


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11 Comments on "Toyota Looks To Keep 2013 Prius Plug-In Sales On Pace With 2012. Kinda. Not Really."

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Well, Toyota never really wanted to build this car anyway. They were dragged kicking and screaming into this world of plug ins.

I agree – They should have come out with it years earlier. It is sad when aftermarket kits were available for quite a while and actually in many cases performed better than their own plug-in version.

I hope the next generation PiP has at least 20 miles all electric range, with the ability to lock-out the I.C.E. completely. Thus enabling a larger portion of people to have all-electric commutes.

Another sign that consumers found better options is the fact that it is 3/5/2013, and Toyota is still trying to unload 2012 Prius plug-in vehicles. When GM, Nissan and Ford are struggling to build enough 2013 product to meet consumer demand.

Toyota is seriously trying to dump the Prius plug-in out of inventory. On the Toyota website, the $229/mo $2399 down deal is for both the 2012 and 2013 Prius plug-in. Which is less than the 2013 Prius Liftback at $249/mo with $2399 down.

That 11 ‘blended’ miles means that the engine is running and not in EV mode. It’s really only 6 EV miles.

That isn’t exactly true. There’s been some confusion over that. The EPA says 6 miles because during their routine test, they are not able to keep the I.C.E. off the entire time because either speed is too high, or acceleration demand is too high at some point in the test. So 11 miles is the actual EV range, but the EPA has a little foot note that the 11 miles they experienced was not contiguous.

While I do not have a PiP, I’ve read many posts about this on priuschat. Some folks have managed to milk as much as 20 miles out of the PiP.

We owned a 07 Prius and a 010 Priusand decided that the PHEV Prius was too much money for too little battery. We are very pleased with our Volt’s AER and ride performance 

I don’t think “pathetic” is too strong of a word to describe what it’s like to watch huge auto builders pussyfoot around using expensive lithium batteries. In other markets, Toyota is using lithium in their many hybrids, but in NA we still get NIMH. Look, we know lithium is uber-expensive, but through costs of scale they’d go down, yet that can’t happen unless Big Kahuna’s like Toyota ( the world’s largest automaker ) step up to the plate and sell lithium batteries. BMW’s futuristic EV offerings with ungodly pricetags, Caddy ELR – the leather-lined Volt for retired golfers with a price that’d make Tiger Woods think twice before he flirted with another pornstar…..and the now fleet of 70-90 mile AER “compliance” rides that keep dribbling into the market – It’s kind of painful to watch – really. Look – as I said re: Holden’s TV ad for Volt, and I’ll say again – a company’s electric or PHEV cars make their big profit-making ICEs look stupid – literally. But due to government mandates, they trot out these ICE models stripped of their gas – with a battery pack and plug and whistle “Yankee Doodle Dandy” – hoping to God that… Read more »

– and meanwhile, an LG battery plant sits idly by in Detroit
with employees playing poker, and eager journalists
sneaking around peeking in the windows….

Take a Prius 3
Remove seats
Add heated seats from the Prius 4
Remove the spare
Add a fix-a-flat kit
Remove the 1.3kWh NIMH battery.
Add a 4.4kWh lithium battery
Add plug-in wiring
Add new plug-in software
Add an EVSE

According to Toyota that’s worth $6,500. Basically, they’re charging a lot for a battery.

Toyota also isn’t helping sales by making people choose between the above basic edition and a $40k Advanced model.

With discounting it’ll sell, without it, it won’t (except in HOV land). It’s simply embarrassingly expensive compared to the regular Prius with pricing that puts the lithium battery over $1k/kWh. As I see it, a cheap plug-in will cannibalize NiMH HEV, reducing profits and reducing demand from their NiMH battery plant so they’d really prefer to avoid lithium right now until they can improve the prospective margins at greater volume.

I thought my 2013 C-MAX would be a Prius Killer? NOT! As a cross over buyer I feel deceived. I want to support US companies and US jobs. What was Ford thinking when they published 47/ 47/47 estimates? I would have been ok with low 40’s but 28-33 is not even in the ballpark. I have been accused of not knowing how to drive hybrid. I lease both a 2010 Prius and 2010 Honda Insight and consider myself an experienced hyper-miler. My mileage in the Prius is 50 plus, the Insight is 40 plus, The C-MAX is a great car, with extremely inflated EPA posted estimates.

Ronald Kramer
Yankee Ford Customer
South Portland, Maine

Given the current incentive, potential buyers / leasees for Prius should consider Prius Plug-In instead if they can make the purchase in NY/NJ/CT. It’s cheaper to lease one compare to regular inferiorly equipped Prius II.
Even for purchase, compare the OTD prices after all tax incentive the base Prius Plug-in might be cheaper then similiary equipped Prius III.
You don’t have to charge at all to drive this vehicle, meaning if you can’t/dont want to charge just think it as Prius III.