Will Toyota Kill the Prius Hybrid?

More than 25 years ago, the Toyota Prius helped revolutionize the automotive world as it helped kick off the eco-friendly car wave. It showed that an eco-friendly hybrid car could not only be a practical reality but commercially successful as well. However, the Prius is outdated, and over the past several years, there has been speculation that Toyota will kill the Prius.

Why would Toyota discontinue the Prius?

Woman placing a pink inflatable on a 2022 Toyota Prius
2022 Toyota Prius | Toyota

Since the Prius achieved so much success, why would Toyota kill it? Why would the automaker discontinue it? For one, the sales volume of the Prius is considerably lower than it was at its peak. In 2020, Toyota only sold 43,525 units of the Prius, compared to 236,655 units in 2012.

Also, other hybrid vehicles now overshadow the Prius, including ones in the Toyota lineup. Talk of the discontinuation of the Prius grew even louder with the arrival of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. Since Toyota offers another compact hybrid car with the Corolla Hybrid, the Prius could become irrelevant.

Another thing that could make the Prius irreverent is electric vehicles. Since consumers have many more eco-friendly choices with EVs these days, hybrids like the Prius could be less appealing. While Toyota has been slow to introduce an electric vehicle, the automaker recently communicated that it will make a big push for electric vehicles in the future, starting with the release of the Toyota bZ4X crossover EV in 2022.

Toyota will not discontinue the Prius — for now

Despite the speculation that Toyota may discontinue the Prius, fans of the iconic hybrid can breathe a sigh of relief. This is because Toyota recently hinted that it will launch a new version of the Prius, as reported by Autocar

In the wake of Toyota’s recent announcement about plans for electric vehicles, the automaker has been quiet about how this affects the Prius. However, Autocar reached out to Andrea Carlucci, the product and marketing director for Toyota, and asked him if the “Prius is still an important part of Toyota’s line-up and whether there will be another generation.” This is what he said in response to the inquiry:

“It [the Toyota Prius] remains the pioneer into electrification — and has been clearly, for Toyota, an icon. It started our journey back more than 25 years ago. It has to keep a role, and we have to make sure it will always be a front-runner with that kind of technology, so — although I can’t disclose much – we don’t want to waste our icon, even for the future.”

– Andrea Carlucci, Toyota Director of Product and Marketing

Next-generation 2023 Toyota Prius: What’s the release date and new design?

Driver's side rear angle view of red 2022 Toyota Prius
2022 Toyota Prius | Toyota

As stated by Carlucci, he can’t disclose much information about the next-generation Prius, such as its new design and new features. However, the release date of the redesigned Prius will likely be next year, with it released as a 2023 model. For previous Prius generations, Toyota released the redesigned models in six-year cycles. With the last debut in 2016, the Prius will be due for renewal in 2022.

While Toyota didn’t provide any details about the next-generation Prius, Autocar stated that the automaker is “working on a new Europe-specific ‘E3’ vehicle architecture that can accommodate electric, plug-in hybrid, and full-hybrid powertrains, using elements of its existing GA-C and incoming bZ platforms.” The next-generation Prius could use the new E3 vehicle architecture, especially with the flexibility that the architecture provides.

You can relax, Prius enthusiasts. Toyota will not kill the Prius anytime soon. 

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