California Is Unlike Anywhere Else: Toyota Prius Most Popular New Car

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2013 Toyota Prius liftback

2013 Toyota Prius liftback

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Years ago, tourism officials in the Lone Star State adopted the saying, "Texas: It's Like A Whole Other Country". There's some truth to that, but the slogan might be most appropriate for California. 

Like Texas, California, is home to a diverse array of cultures and a wide range of environments, both man-made and natural. But unlike Texas -- and nearly everywhere else in the U.S. -- California is truly, madly, deeply in love with the Toyota Prius.

That's not to say that the Prius family is hated in other parts of the country, but it doesn't sit at the top of the sales charts, either. That honor would go to the Ford F-150 pickup, sales of which topped 645,000 last year. That's over 200,000 more units than its nearest competitor, the Chevrolet Silverado (also a pickup).

America's love affair with the F-150 is borne out in state-by-state data. During the first six months of 2012, the F-150 was the best-selling vehicle in more states than not, while the Prius failed to nab any #1 spots at all.

That changed in October, when Prius was declared to be the most popular vehicle line in -- you guessed it -- California. Then again, that shouldn't have been much of a surprise, since the Prius was earlier revealed to be the third best-selling car line in the world

Back in January, Toyota released preliminary sales figures for the Prius, which indicated that the brand had maintained its spot at the top of the Golden State's sales charts for the calendar year. Now, Toyota has issued final data, confirming that the Prius family of vehicles -- including the Prius Liftback, Prius v, Prius Plug-in, and Prius c -- accounted for 61,893 new-vehicle registrations in California during 2012, more than any other model. We can debate whether it's fair to pit a family of four vehicles against single models like the F-150, but clearly, no other state can claim California's level of Prius popularity.

Of course, now that the U.S. housing market is on the rebound, the Prius' fate could change. Construction and pickups tend to go hand in hand, so an uptick in new homes, malls, skate parks, and day spas could upset Toyota's delicate grip on California's brass sales ring. We'll keep you posted


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Comments (6)
  1. Isn't it "Cheating" to group 3 complete different models into 1 "name plate"?

    If we are going to seperate GMC from its Chevy cousin in comparison against Ford F-150, then why are we combing Prius C with Prius V and Prius plugin?

    Sure, it is all called Prius, but they are different enough underneath to call it a "single name plate".

    But I agree, Prius is everything in California.

    Many local cities and state agencies are buying Prius too, so it should help as well.

  2. I hope the Plug in Prius is expanded into a broad platform
    from the C to the V and into the Camry, Avalon and Highlander and RAV4.

    Growing the plug in will do a lot to drive change.

  3. Let me get this straight. In a state with mostly mild, mostly sunny convertible weather 12 months a year, where it hardly ever rains or snows and you could use a 20, 30, 40, 50, 60-year old car as a daily driver, the most popular new car is a hybrid 4-door sedan that takes 11 seconds 0-60 and looks like a giant doorstop. Let's hope this trend stops at the California border.

  4. @Kenneth: For the record, what state (or country) do you live in?

  5. Prius actually treats gasoline as if it was valuable. Also get a taste of electric car operation with a spare tire and without range anxiety or plugging in. Sunroof option also includes solar power roof to keep car ventilated when parked in the sun, and remote AC to run AC off the traction battery to pre cool vehicle.

  6. Prius 0 to 60mph is under 10 sec, barely. Prius is quick enough but not quick.

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