Toyota considers narrowing down the Prius family image

The demand for the Prius family is not at Toyota’s desirable levels for the present and the automaker ponders on the idea to shrink the line-up for the US market.

Toyota had a daring plan 5 year ago, aiming to push its environmentally friendly Prius to become the best-selling model within the automaker’s line-up. Pursuing its vision, Toyota extended the Prius family in 2011 by adding the compact C version, the V wagon and a plug-in hybrid, hopping this expansion would eventually offset the massive sales of its Camry and Corolla, thus imposing a long lasting green trend. “Within the next 10 to 20 years, we will not only reach peak oil we will enter a period where demand for all liquid fuels will exceed supply,” Toyota said back in 2010. Maybe so, but the gas prices are so low these days, at least in the US, that fewer and fewer customers consider buying a green car. The Camry, Corolla and RAV4 are all outselling the Prius family by a mile, while the Tacoma pickup is roughly on the same level.

Now, the world’s biggest automaker is changing downwards the targets for the Prius for the rest of the decade, Automotive News announces. Furthermore, Toyota has not decided yet if it gives a green light to the next-generation C and V in the US, especially considering the arrival of the new RAV4 Hybrid. “We’ll have to see how well the RAV4 Hybrid does,” Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, told Automotive News, “because the RAV4 could really take the place of the Prius V.” Lentz expects 2016 sales of the Prius liftback will be up about 30 percent from their 113,829 total in 2015 in the US, which marked a 7.3 percent drop over a year earlier. The Prius family’s future is more assured outside the US, where the C is sold as the Yaris in Europe, recording sales of 72,000 units in 2015 in the region, up 23 percent versus 2014.

Via Automotive News