It may have only gone on sale at the end of October 2011, but Toyota has just announced it managed to sell 8,399 Toyota Prius V Wagons before the start of 2012. 

In other words, it sold 668 more 2012 Prius V wagons in 2011 than Chevrolet sold Volts, but 1,335 less than the Nissan Leaf.

Starting at just $27,100, the Prius V combines the same 1.8 liter gasoline engine and Hybrid Synergy Drive system found in the 2012 Toyota Prius hatchback with a taller and longer rear. 

The result? A wagon that can swallow 34 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats and offer fuel economy of 44 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

2012 Toyota Prius V station wagon, Half Moon Bay, CA, May 2011

2012 Toyota Prius V station wagon, Half Moon Bay, CA, May 2011

Although its fuel economy doesn’t match either the 2012 Prius Hatchback or the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, the 2012 Prius V offers more space than both, combining practicality with green motoring. 

But according to GM spokesman Rob Peterson, comparing sales figures of Toyota’s latest hybrid car is like comparing “apples and oranges.”

“Consumers cross-shop vehicles with comparable technologies or functionality, not a new name-plate,” Peterson told Bloomberg yesterday. The two cars, he reiterated, appeal to different buyers. 

Petersons is right: the two cars do appeal to different demographics.  However, for buyers who want their first green hybrid, we think the Prius V's  base-level sticker price -- a massive $12,895 less than the base-level Volt -- is bound to win it custom from buyers who don't necessarily want their green car to have a plug. 

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Add on the detrimental effects of end-of-year media hysteria surrounding the now-fixed Chevy Volt battery pack on Volt sales, and it's easy to see why the Prius V outsold the Volt. 

Does that mean the Volt is a failure? 

Not at all. The 2012 Prius V, while a new model for Toyota, is essentially a wagon variant of an already-existing, proven car, the 2012 Prius, while the Chevrolet Volt is still very much in its infancy. For the most part, consumers will stick with technology they already know and are familiar with in tough economic climates than spend more money on new technology. 

In essence, the Volt is where the Prius was ten years ago.

Maybe not quite. As own John Voelcker has pointed out, the Chevy Volt sold 2,109 more cars in its first year than Toyota sold in the launch year of the first Toyota Prius, something we think everyone should remember. 


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