Toyota Prius lost its major market share ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Toyota Prius lost its major market share

Friday, February 24, 2006

Toyota Prius lost its major market share

Green Car Congress posted its monthly sales report for January. I posted similar hybrid sales numbers at the beginning of February, although I could never track down the number of Ford/Mercury sales. After reading Mike's post, I had a few questions. Why so late? And where did you get the numbers on your Ford and Mercury numbers? But that's not what this post is about.

I just noticed the Toyota Prius has only 48.2% of the hybrid market. It's the first time the Prius has lost its majority share. So, where did the percentages go? Well, to Toyota, basically. Although the Honda Civic jumped up to capture 19.9% of the buying market, the Accord fell drastically to 2.2%, leaving Honda's share fairly steady at 22.5%. The Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner fell a couple of points to 5.7%.

The Lexus 400h held fairly steady at 9.3%, but the Toyota Highlander grabbed 14.3%, a five and a half percent jump upwards. And so, the Toyota Prius lost its share to its sister the Highlander.

The Toyota Prius losing its majority market share is still a significant event. It shows just how much the hybrid choices have grown. In 2004, there were only three choices if you wanted a hybrid. Now there are eight, with several more on the way.

The total number of hybrids being sold has grown at a phenomenal rate. In January, 2004 4252 units were sold. Now in January 2006, 15868 units were sold. That's over 300% increase in hybrid sales in just two years. But the hybrid market is no longer being dominated by just one car. It's no longer a Prius (hybrid) world.

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Anonymous said...

I'm interested in reading what you have to say about hybrid vehicles, but got stopped before even finishing the first headline on the page. Please note that the word "it's" is a contraction for "it is" and should not be used when you're trying to describe something *belonging* to "it." The correct word for you to use in your headline and first paragraph is "its." It's a little counterintuitive because you've always been taught to use the apostrophe when signifying ownership, but the word "its" is the one exception to this rule. "It" has its own rule...

Unknown said...

Thanks. I guess I had forgotten the rules. I'll fix that right away.

Anonymous said...

Are these figures for the US or worldwide? im interested because I am writing a paper for a university class in Australia about the marketing angle of Toyota in Australia. The figures are huge for the prius but I'm not sure about consumer awareness of Prius and its capabilities as a normal car (perceptions of the Hybrid Prius are generally that they are slow and expensive). Your thoughts?

Unknown said...

The figures shown here are for the US, not worldwide. The last time I described overall hybrid sales in Australia was back in February of 2008:

But with hybrids about to built there (, I would say Toyota expects sales to grow.

I'm not sure what the perception of the Prius is in Australia. Not living there, it's hard to say although my impression is like yours that there are many who don't see the benefits of hybrids and that's why it's been slow to catch on there.

In the US, the awareness is much higher. The Prius is (depending on the month) around number 10 or so on the list of the most popular cars sold. And it has been for a while. That means 1 out of every 100 vehicles sold in the US is a Prius. So, they are everywhere.

That does not mean they are cheap or 'not slow' although the slow impression is when you compare it to more powerful cars. If you're used to driving a V-8, switching to a smaller engine is always harder. But at $20K-$28K, they definitely aren't cheap.

I wrote up a piece on the pros and cons of hybrids where I detail more of my thoughts (

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