According to a Treehugger post (Worst Sales Performance of Any Car: Toyota Prius : TreeHugger)
What is the worst performing car (in sales) in America in November? The Prius.There are a couple of problems with that claim. First, they only look at the most popular cars and trucks, so claiming the Prius is the worst performing car is over the top.
Sales are Bad
Not that a 48% sales decline is anything to be happy about.
But at the same time, this is an indication of how numbers can lie. Having kept track of hybrid sales for a couple of years now, I think I can understand why the numbers are declining on the Prius.
First, the cost of gas has gone way down in the past month. That alone should relieve some of the pressure on more fuel economic cars. Until gas prices go up, at least some people are going to be opting for less fuel efficient cars.
The Prius may be the most inexpensive full hybrid on the road to buy right now, but that doesn't make it cheap to buy. It's price puts it above the line for a lot people. In the current economy, anything that might be considered a luxury is being put off.
Also, despite the downturn in sales, hybrids are not getting discounted. I've even seen some reports of dealerships charging more than the asking price, even now. Other cars are getting discounts and special financing deals, but not hybrids.
The Prius is about to move into a next generation. For those who know, waiting until the next generation Prius is on the road is a smart move.
One last point (and this may be the biggest one). Last November, sales on hybrids (not just the Prius) were up 82%. The Prius was up by 109%! After moving their Camry Hybrid production into Kentucky, Toyota was able to increase production of the Prius and November's sales showed how well they were doing in filling in the back orders they had.
Prius is Still at the Top
Despite all the downward pressure on car sales, the Prius is still one of the top selling cars in the US. Toyota has very little inventory on the Prius. They are selling the ones they have, without any attempt to increase production. To put it simply, Toyota is selling every Prius they make.
If we take the list at Treehugger at face value, it's #16 on the list of all cars, trucks and SUVs. If we just restrict to cars, it's in the top 10. Sales are down 10% on the year. I wonder how many other cars can say that's all they're down.
I'd have to say Treehugger Lloyd Alter is getting this one wrong. I know his point is how Ford and GM aren't exactly getting everything wrong as compared to Toyota or Honda. But that doesn't mean his claims about the Prius are right.