Toyota took the lead early in the hybrid sales race, with the Prius gathering steam with each successive year. With the launch of the all-new Prius c for 2012, the hybrid exclusive range has now grown to four unique models paving the way for the badge to crush previous record years.
Speaking at the launch of the Prius c in La Jolla, CA, Toyota Division Group VP & GM Bob Carter commented that he expects the new model to account for 30,000 to 40,000 sales in its first year. Added to the totals for the Prius liftback, the plug-in hybrid model and the recently launched Prius v, Carter pegged total Prius “brand” sales at 220,000 for 2012. That would put it well above the previous sales record set in 1997 of just over 180,000 units, although at that time only one Prius model was offered.
Carter admitted to being slightly vague in the tally, commenting that both the c and the new Prius v should account for 15 to 20 percent of total Prius sales each. He also pointed out Toyota’s flexible production capabilities, allowing the automaker to increase assembly of a model should demand spike.
“Since it first went on sale in Japan 15 years ago the Prius has been the number-one hybrid in the world,” said Carter, commenting that the Prius almost outsold all other hybrids combined in 2011. According to Toyota’s internal numbers, Prius sales outpaced all Honda Hybrids four to one. It’s dominance over other hybrids was even more dramatic, besting Ford and Hyundai sales five to one and GM hybrid sales 10 to 1.
In addition, total Prius sales in the U.S. have reached 1.1 million units, meaning that over half of all hybrids currently on the road in America are Prius models. Carter insists that by the end of the decade Prius family sales could easily exceed those of the top selling Camry.
New Prius models are only a part of Toyota’s larger product rollout for 2012, with plans to introduce 19 new or updated Toyota, Lexus and Scion models. That means, on average, Toyota will reveal a new model every 19 days this year.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Prius c
Read AutoGuide’s Toyota Prius c Review Here and watch our video review below: