Toyota Prius Ranked World's Third Best Selling Car so Far This Year

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

When it was first introduced 15 years ago, even many at Toyota had little faith in the pug nosed Prius. But now the automaker can unequivocally state that it’s no longer a niche product, with sales numbers for the first quarter of 2012 ranking the gasoline-electric hybrid as the world’s third best selling car.

Helped by modest incentives and an increased product line that now includes three additional vehicles (the Prius c, Prius v and Prius plug-in), sales of the Prius in the first three months have doubled to 247,230. The only vehicles to out-sell the Prius are Ford’s Focus at 277,000 units as well as the top-selling Toyota Corolla at 300,800 units.

Sales growth for the car has been big in the U.S., with numbers climbing by 42 percent in Q1. And the Prius’s popularity shows no signs of stopping with sales through April up 56 percent to 86,027 units.

That’s nothing compared to the growth the Prius has seen in its home market of Japan where the new Aqua (sold as the Prius c in North America) has helped sales of the Prius triple to 175,080 units. In total, global Prius sales are up 125 percent.

This news comes as Toyota has announced Prius sales since the car’s introduction recently topped four million units, establishing Toyota as the clear leader in hybrid production. Toyota is also celebrating a return to the top as the world’s largest automaker by volume in Q1.

While the numbers point towards a continued surge for the Prius, that may all change quickly. If gas prices decrease, hybrid sales will take a hit. In addition, incentives in Japan are set to run out in July. Conversely, if gas prices rise even further hybrid sales could continue to rise.

Long term the Prius is likely to continue its steady increase with a recent Consumer Reports poll revealing that fuel economy wasn’t just the number one concern for new car buyers, but that a total of 75% of those surveyed said they would consider an alternative fuel vehicle as their next choice.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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  • Redrider Redrider on May 29, 2012

    I bought my Prius in 2008. I drive 30,000 miles per year, my car has never given me a minute of trouble. I have averaged 39mpg combined over the life of the car. I now have 119,000 miles on my Prius and I have enjoyed every one of them.

  • Lakeduffy Lakeduffy on May 29, 2012

    The biggest idiots are those driving heavy vehicles in bumper-to-bumper traffic.