First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
More and more hybrid vehicles are coming out every year, yet the Toyota Prius, the granddaddy of them all, remains at the forefront. It provides high fuel economy (more than 50 mpg), a comfortable ride and a versatile cargo area. There's also the argument for peace of mind since Toyota certainly has a long history of making reliable hybrid vehicles.
In 2010, Toyota released a device for the third-generation Prius meant to alert pedestrians of its proximity. Japan issued guidelines for such warning devices in January 2010 and the US approved legislation on December 2010. Models equipped with automatically activated systems include all 2012 and later model year Prius family vehicles that have been introduced in the United States, including the standard Prius, the Prius v, the Prius c and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The warning sound is activated when the car is traveling at less than 15 mph (24 km/h) and cannot be manually turned off.
Toyota debuted the new Prius (2010 US model year) at the January 2009 North American International Auto Show, and sales began in Japan on May 18, 2009. Toyota cut the price of the Prius from ¥2.331 million to ¥2.05 million to better compete with the Honda Insight, leading some to wonder whether increased sales of the Prius might come at the expense of sales of other vehicles with higher margins. Competition from lower priced hybrids, such as the Honda Insight, also made it difficult for Toyota to capitalize on the Prius's success. As of June 2013, Toyota has sold about 1,688,000 third-generation Priuses worldwide.
Toyota unveiled the Prius c concept at the January 2011 North American International Auto Show. The Prius c has a lower list price and is smaller than the previous Prius hatchback. The production version was unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show as the Toyota Aqua, and was launched in Japan in December 2011. The Prius c was released in the US and Canada in March 2012, and in April 2012 in Australia and New Zealand. The Prius c is not available in Europe, where instead, Toyota is selling the Toyota Yaris Hybrid since June 2012. The Prius c and the Yaris Hybrid share the same powertrain. The Aqua ranked as the second best selling car in Japan in 2012 after the Prius brand, as Toyota reports together sales of the conventional Prius and the Prius α. When sales of these two Prius models are broken down, the Toyota Aqua ranked as the top selling model in Japan, including kei cars, with the Aqua leading monthly sales since February through December 2012. Thereafter, the Aqua has been the top selling new car in Japan for three years running, from 2013 to 2015, and it is considered the most successful nameplate launch in Japan in the last 20 years.
The popularity of the Toyota Prius is shrinking faster than the polar icecaps. In 2016, sales dipped below 100,000 units for the first time since 2004. Last year they fell 33 percent. With 2018 drawing to a close, Prius sales are down another 23 percent. Even with the arrival in January of the new 2019 AWD-e model—which Toyota says should be good for a quarter of next year's sales—the company's flagship hybrid is expected to sell just 50,000 units in 2019.
Among the new standard features of the Prius, Toyota introduced three optional user-selectable driving modes: EV mode for electric-only low-speed operation, Eco mode for best fuel efficiency, and Power mode for better performance. Optional features included the solar-PV roof panels to help cool the cabin interior in summer heat, Intelligent Parking Assist and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
Launched in Japan in 1997, the Toyota Prius hybrid made its U.S. debut in 2001 and sold only 15,000 units that first year. By 2011, U.S. sales reached the 1 million mark, and today global sales top 3.5 million. The Prius uses a gasoline engine and an electric motor with a battery pack. The hybrid system saves fuel by using the electric motor at low speeds, with the gas engine automatically turning on when needed. The Prius’ batteries are recharged by energy captured from braking and by the gasoline engine. Known for its distinctive styling, the Prius name has been applied to other hybrid offerings, including the Prius c, v and Prime. Toyota’s hybrid system found in the Prius is also used in hybrid versions of some of Toyota’s mainstream models.
What all-wheel drive won't do is help in the stopping department. Prius AWD-e models come shod with the same 15-inch, low-rolling-resistance Dunlop Enasave 01 all-season tires as front-drive Prius models. A good set of winter tires, even fitted to a front-drive Prius, would bring greater traction benefits to stopping as well as going. Mounted and balanced on a spare set of wheels, complete with TPMS sensors and wheel covers and shipped to your house from Tire Rack, these would run about $900. By comparison, the upcharge for all-wheel drive in a $25,900 Prius LE is $1400, and in the $28,740 XLE, it's $1000. Those are the two middle trims in Toyota's new Prius trim naming strategy; all-wheel drive is not available on the top-of-the-line Limited or the entry L Eco.
Toyota sold 223,905 Priuses among the various HEV family members in the US in 2012, representing together a market share of 51.5% of all hybrid sold in the country that year. In addition, a total of 12,750 Prius PHVs were sold in 2012, allowing the plug-in hybrid to rank as the second top selling plug-in electric car in the US after the Chevrolet Volt, and surpassing the Nissan Leaf. The Toyota Prius liftback, with 147,503 units sold, was the best selling hybrid in 2012, the Prius v ranked third with 40,669 units, and the Prius c was fourth with 35,733 units. Toyota USA estimated that sales of its hybrids models in 2012 would represent 14% of total Toyota sales in the country. Since their inception in 1999, a total of 1.5 million Prius family members have been sold in the US by mid October 2013, representing a 50.1% market share of total hybrid sales in the country. Of these, 1,356,318 are conventional Prius liftbacks sold through September 2013.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) rate the Prius as among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States, based on smog-forming emissions. The 2018 model year Prius Eco ranks as the second most fuel efficient gasoline-powered car available in the US without plug-in capability, following the Hyundai Ioniq "Blue".
The automobile that defined this size in the United States was the Rambler Six that was introduced in 1956, although it was called a "compact" car at that time. Much smaller than any standard contemporary full-size cars, it was called a compact to distinguish it from the small imported cars that were being introduced into the marketplace. By the 1960s, the car was renamed the Rambler Classic and while it retained its basic dimensions, it was now competing with an array of new "intermediate" models from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
A mid-size car— also known as intermediate— is a vehicle size class which originated in the United States and is used for cars that are larger than compact cars, but smaller than full-size cars. The equivalent European category is D-segment, which is also called "large family car". Mid-size cars are manufactured in a variety of body styles, including sedans, coupes, station wagons, hatchbacks and convertibles.
From 2005 to 2009, the second generation Prius had been built by FAW-Toyota in the city of Changchun for the Chinese market. It was reported that a total of 2,152 Priuses were sold in 2006 and 414 in 2007. The relatively low sales was blamed on high price, about US$15,000 higher than the equivalent in Japan or the US, caused by high duties on imported parts. In early March 2008, Toyota cut the price of Prius by up to eight percent or US$3,000 to CN¥259,800 (US$36,500). It was thought that the sales dropped as a result of both a lack of acceptance and increased competition. The Toyota Prius Hybrid was exported to China from 2007. Toyota sold about 1,192,000-second generation Priuses worldwide.
The large number of Prius-owning progressive celebrities in 2002 prompted The Washington Post to dub hybrids "Hollywood's latest politically correct status symbol". Conservatives called "Prius Patriots" also drive the cars because they want to contribute to reducing US dependence on foreign oil. A 2007 San Francisco Chronicle article said "Prius Progressives" were becoming an archetype, with American conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh opining that "these liberals think they're ahead of the game on these things, and they're just suckers".