Toyota Prius Hybrids Now The Best-Selling Cars In California

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2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

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Ten years ago, even in green-car-loving California, the Toyota Prius hybrid was a rare sight on the roads. 

By the start of 2012, the Toyota Prius was far from rare, recording impressive sales figures in both March and May, to become the world’s third best-selling car line.

Now, Toyota’s family of Prius hybrids have become California’s best-selling car for 2012, beating vehicles like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and the Ford F-Series pickup.

According to the California Auto Outlook (via Automotive News), combined sales of the four 2012 Toyota Prius models--the Liftback, Prius V wagon, Prius C subcompact, and Prius Plug-in Hybrid--hit 46,380 cars from the start of January to the end of September.

Last year, the Honda Civic was the top-selling car in the state, while the Prius was in fourth place, with sales of 34,129. 

Moreover, Prius family sales have accounted for 19.7 percent of all new subcompact car sales in California since the start of 2012.

The increase in Prius sales has contributed to a 41.8 percent growth in Toyota and Scion sales year on year in the state, versus a state-wide average sales growth of 26.3 percent.

That’s the equivalent of a 2 percent increase in market share. 

2012 Toyota Prius C

2012 Toyota Prius C

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In the rest of the U.S., however, the Prius still has some way to go before it can claim the best-selling slot. 

So far, the Prius family occupies the eighth slot nationwide, behind the F-series pickup, the Toyota Camry, and others. 

With higher gas prices on average than most other U.S. states, it’s no surprise that more Prius hybrids are selling in California than elsewhere. 

But here’s the real shocker: the data collected by the California New Car Dealers Association, the organization responsible for the California Auto Outlook, was gathered BEFORE California suffered the $5-a-gallon gas price spike earlier this month. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that particular crisis caused many car-buyers to seriously think about buying a hybrid or electric car for the first time in their lives.

With that in mind, what do you think the final sales figures for Prius hybrids will be in California at the end of 2012? 

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (14)
  1. I'd consider the Prius, Plug-in Prius and Prius V part of the same family, as they share the basic platform.

    I would not count in the Prius C as it is a modified Yaris. In Europe the Prius C is sold as the Yaris hybrid.

  2. @Anne: The Yaris Hybrid and the Prius C are two distinct vehicles. They share no sheetmetal, and I believe their wheelbases are slightly different. For the record.

  3. Good point John. However, they are very similar in size, power, etc. The Prius C is a lesser vehicle in many other ways then its other US Prii siblings too. Not a bad car but the Prius C is not nearly as good as the other Prii.

  4. The "family" label is interesting. I guess the "Prius family" all have similar look and drivetrains, so they can be thought of a group.

    It might also be more natural to have a "Toyota hybrid family" which might include Camry hybrid, Highlander hybrid, and numerous Lexus hybrids. This grouping might say more about the strength of Toyota's lineup, but then there is no clear comparison group.

  5. Ford's and Honda's hybrid family numbers are growing this year...

  6. Very good article Nikki. My guess is over 70K Prii vehicles sold in CA for the year 2012....and over 100K for the year 2013.

  7. 2013 Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost

  8. @Erik: Ummmmmm ... what's that last comment in reply to? Or what does it mean?

  9. Hmmmmm....some how that Fiesta comment of mine to Nikki's small turbo car article got here....

  10. Well, with ads now pushing Prius at 0.9% and 0% for Prius Plugin, I am NOT surprised that Prius are doing well in CA.

    There are everywhere in the Bay area. Every street has at least 1 Prius. It is cheap to buy a Prius now, especially when its far below an average selling price ($29k) of brand new car.

  11. I am also curious to see the breakdown of 4 Prius model.

    I am guessing that Prius takes about 50% of the Prius famil sales, Prius V would be the next biggest one at 25% of the Prius family sales. Prius C would be next at 15% of the family sales. Prius Plugin would be about 10% of the family sales...

    This is purely based on what I can see on the road in the Bay Area.

  12. @Xiaolong: Ask and ye shall receive!

    We actually did this article a couple of weeks ago:

  13. Well, I meant to ask the breadown for California Prius Family Sales. Since this was about the Prius family being the best selling car family...

  14. In California.

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