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Toyota is a popular automaker constantly innovating and coming up with new cars, and an excellent example of that is the Prius. Ever since the Prius was introduced, it was always stereotyped as an ugly but eco-friendly car. Still, that perception didn’t stop the Prius from selling well. Nowadays, though, the Prius is losing sales to more eco-friendly vehicles, such as EVs. However, Toyota gave the Prius a major update in the nick of time.

Toyota Prius sales collapsed in 2022

According to GoodCarBadCar, Toyota Prius sales dropped a lot year-over-year. In 2021, Toyota sold 59,000 units across the entire Prius family of cars. In the same time period in 2022, the Japanese auto giant only sold a total of 33,000 units of the Prius. That’s a steep drop of about 43% compared to last year. 

Toyota may have actually sold more Prius cars than that, but it wouldn’t really change the overall picture. GoodCarBadCar wrote that Toyota sold 0 units of the Prius in January 2022. This may be accurate, or the site may not have data for that month. Either way, the Prius still likely saw a massive drop in sales for the year, which is not a new trend. 

The Prius has always been popular, as it sold over 100,000 units annually for many years. It peaked at over 236,000 units sold in 2012, but its sales have declined since then. In 2018, sales dropped to 87,000 units. The year after, it fell to 69,000 units. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the supply chain crisis haven’t been good for the hybrid car, but they aren’t the only reasons why the Prius has declined in popularity.

The many reasons why the Prius may be selling worse now

A 2023 Toyota Prius Limited in Reservoir Blue driving past white fencing on a country asphalt road
2023 Toyota Prius Limited | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The Toyota Prius came to market at a good time, as it was when Americans started becoming concerned about the environment. The Prius, which has always been a hybrid car, provided drivers with great fuel economies compared to the gas guzzlers that were common in the early 2000s. 

However, it’s no longer the early 2000s. Plug-in hybrids, or PHEVs, are even more efficient than traditional hybrids like the Prius. Toyota adapted to this development by creating the Prius Prime, the PHEV version of the Prius. However, the auto industry continued innovating, and it didn’t take long for full-fledged electric vehicles to appear. 

As EVs have gotten cheaper, they’ve also gotten more popular. Tesla has become a force in the auto industry, posting sales numbers that rival traditional automakers. Tesla isn’t the only company making EVs either, and shoppers now have many options. Because of that, the Prius isn’t the juggernaut of green models it used to be, as EVs are far more eco-friendly than the Prius hybrid hatchback.

An overview of the updated Toyota Prius

Toyota isn’t giving up on the Prius, though, and it’s why the Japanese auto giant redesigned the car for the 2023 model year. The core of the Prius is still unchanged, and it’s still a traditional hybrid. It’s also still an affordable option, starting at around $27,000. This allows the Prius to better compete with EVs, which tend to cost more.

The redesign changed the Prius’s size, which may give it a smoother ride. Under the hood, the Prius has a new engine that is significantly more powerful than before, as it gets 196 horsepower instead of the old version’s 121 hp. Despite the additional power, the Prius is even more efficient than before, getting 57 mpg combined. Plus, Toyota updated how the Prius looks on the inside and outside, making it more modern.

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