When the electrified Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf hit the market, it was with big hype yet small sales. By contrast, the new Prius Plug-in hybrid quietly started arriving at Toyota dealerships a few months ago, and it is already moving more units than its fellow cord-compatible competitors. Last month, Toyota’s plug-in addition to the Prius family sold more than both the plug-in hybrid Volt and the all-electric Leaf in the United States, helping to cement the Prius nameplate as a dominant force in the green-vehicle market.
According to PluginCars.com, the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in sold 1,654 units in April, compared to the Chevy Volt’s 1,462 units and the Leaf’s sparse 370 units. The Prius Plug-in’s performance bolstered the best-ever April for the Prius family, which more than doubled its sales year-over-year to become the third-most-popular passenger car on the market last month.
“It shows the strength of the Prius name when a plug-in model can arrive pretty much under the radar and outsell competing models that have had so much publicity behind them,” said Wade Sterry, general manager of Russel Toyota, a Baltimore, Maryland Toyota dealer. “The Prius Plug-in also offers a smaller, less expensive battery than the Leaf and Volt, so recharging takes less time. It allows its owners to benefit from electricity without having to be fully dependent on a charging station.”
The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in boasts an EPA rating of 50 mpg in hybrid mode and 95 MPGe in an electric-only mode that can be used for short trips. Using a lightweight lithium-ion battery pack, the Toyota hybrid can be fully charged from a household 120-volt outlet in just three hours, while a special 240-volt outlet cuts that time in half.
Though the Prius family is currently saving a lot of Americans at the gas pump, it may soon help create jobs in the United States as well. In a recent interview with Automotive News, Koei Saga, a senior managing officer for drivetrain research and development at Toyota, indicated that the Japanese automaker is looking at bringing Prius production to the United States by 2015. Toyota believes that U.S. consumer demand should be high enough by then, and the move would be timed to sync up with a new Prius generation.
If U.S. sales of the Prius continue the same upward trend, initiating production in the country would be a logical step for Toyota, helping to offset shipping costs and foreign exchange losses. The automaker previously forecasted that Prius sales will exceed 200,000 units a year in North America by 2015, but they’re already on track to topple that in 2012, with more than 86,000 U.S. sales through April.
“The fact that the Toyota Prius is exceeding sales targets here means it only makes more sense to bring Prius production to the United States,” added Sterry. “Many Toyota models, like the Tundra pickup and the Camry sedan, are already manufactured here, and like those models the Prius has become a regular in Americans’ garages.”
About Russel Toyota:
For more than 40 years, Russel Toyota has relied on a customer-first approach to provide Maryland drivers with only rewarding experiences when it comes to Toyota sales, service and parts. In addition to the dealership’s broad selection of cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans, Baltimore Toyota owners can also take advantage of Russel Toyota’s affordable and thorough maintenance services from their expert team of technicians. Browse their inventory online at www.russeltoyota.com or in person at their Baltimore, Maryland Toyota dealership, located at 6324 Baltimore National Pike. They can also be reached by phone at 410-788-8400 and found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandToyota.
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