November 4th, 2010
Good News: Prius Sells 2 Million Vehicles, The Bad News…
By Kent Harrington | Comments (7)
The Good News:
A recent Toyota press release celebrated a milestone: 2 million Prius hybrids have been sold world-wide since the brand was first launched in Japan 1997. It later began selling in Europe and North American in 2000.
: Toyota reached the first 1 million mark 2 years ago. The second million sold quickly over the last two years. (It helps to expand to more than 70 countries.) Sales are definitely accelerating, and a Japanese salaryman would get a little punch drunk extrapolating these sales trends.
Of course, keep in mind that many countries and states boast sales with subsidies. According to Toyota:
Worldwide Prius sales have been buoyed since 2009 by the introduction in Japan of a government subsidy for green cars that propelled Prius to be the top-selling car in Japan for 17 months in a row. In 2007, sales in Japan represented 21% of all Prius sales worldwide and in 2008, 26%. In 2009, that share jumped to 52%, and for Jan-Sep 2010, the figure is 63%.
Should these stats receive an asterix like a steroid-addled home run hitter. If so, does that make the Pruis the Mark McGuire of global car sales?
Conversely, North America accounted for 65% of worldwide Prius sales in 2007; 57% in 2008; 36% in 2009; and 26% for Jan-Sep 2010. The subsidy expired on 7 September, and Prius sales in Japan fell 14.2% on the year to 27,249 units for the month.
The Bad News...
I'm sure drivers are dancing in the streets of Santa Monica over Prius' sales numbers. But when you compare them to U.S. truck sales, it's obvious that hybrid and electric vehicles are still a niche brand, and the stats show just how far away they are from mass market penetration. Automotive blog Jalopnik
created the chart above pointing out that while 2 million prius' were sold worldwide, they were trounced by the 34 million pick-up trucks sold just in the United States.
Starting in 2004, trucks sales started to fall, rapidly accelerating through 2007 and 2008. And of course, fell even further through 2010. It culminated in the lowest sales since 1992. Long-term sales data from AutoPacfic
Although these stats look fairly dismal, some things never change. According to Pickup.com
Despite the biggest sales drop in decades, however, some things haven't changed. The Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado continued to occupy the top two sales positions among all cars and trucks in the U.S.—the same spots they were in last year—beating the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla, which rounded out the top five. The Dodge Ram finished eighth.
Since 2010 seems to the year of the hybrid with the introduction of the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt, I'm sure hybrid/EV sales will continue to climb. Unfortunately, it will be years before we finally hit a tipping point.