Prius is an untouchable hybrid hit

Nearly half of all hybrids sold in North America are the Toyota model

Runaway Prius

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

There’s no shortage of automakers offering gas-electric hybrid versions of their cars—most of which look identical to their gas-powered counterparts. And yet, the decade-old Toyota Prius remains the untouchable hybrid hit. A record 28,711 Prius cars (which, in addition to the original hatchback, now include a subcompact and wagon) were sold in the U.S. in March. Another 1,039 were sold in Canada—a 215 per cent rise from a year earlier. The Prius accounts for nearly half of all hybrids sold in North America. Why? One theory, tested in a paper last year by Ph.D. candidates Steven and Alison Sexton, is that hybrid owners are mostly interested in appearing “green,” and that the futuristic-looking Prius was the best car for the job. They called the effect “conspicuous conservation.” The message for carmakers: even when it comes to the environment, never underestimate the vanity of your customers.

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Prius is an untouchable hybrid hit

  1. It isn’t just “vanity.”  Compared to hybrids offered by other carmakers, the Prius is affordable, proven to be reliable, and a good value.  The Prius c will be the cheapest hybrid available anywhere– even less expensive than the Honda Insight.

    Even though the Honda Insight was cheaper than the Prius (before the c came out), the Insight sold poorly even though it has no all-gas counterpart, because it is a poor value compared to the Prius in terms of build quality and inferior hybrid system (people complain of the cheap interior, and air conditioning stops if the gas engine shuts off).

    The Prius is simply a good car for the money.  That’s why it sells well.

    •  Totally agreed with you. The same can be said in Australia, where the Prius outsold Insight even it is significantly more expensive.

      You will always get journalists bag a certain type of cars. The Prius is unfortunately attracting the kind of journalists who love to spew rubbish and lies to general public, some stick and most don’t. Just do your own research and you can easily uncover the rubbish they claimed and posted. The article is simply a waste of space because he/she probably never driven one in their lives.

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