• Feb 1st 2011 at 6:01PM
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Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

With the first year of this decade only a month behind us, Toyota is, according to a report from Bloomberg, ready to make sales predictions for the year 2020. The automaker is apparently confident that the Prius will continue to hold its spot as Japan's best-selling model. However, Fumikazu Kitagawa of Nomura Research Institute indicates that the Prius' exceptional sales volume may drive Toyota to drop its price.
Kitagawa claims that Japanese car buyers consider the mainstream Prius as a "friendly" model and not a "leading edge" vehicle. This "friendly" image pits the Prius in direct competition with vehicles like the bargain-priced, subcompact Honda Fit. Kitagawa, who polled 1,972 Japanese car owners, explains the situation like this, "As the Prius becomes more of a mass-market car, it may be time to think about lowering the price." Volume sellers like the gas-electric Prius are not often sought by tech-savvy Japanese buyers. Now that it's a mainstream model, Kitigawa argues, the Prius' cutting-edge appeal, which commanded a premium price, has faded away.

Photos copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / AOL

[Source: Bloomberg]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Prius plug in will take it's place as leading edge.
        MTN RANGER
        • 4 Years Ago
        Any idea how much of a price premium for the Prius Plugin? I wonder if it will be available as a base model. Or will it be purely the top-of-the-line option, that will require leather seats, nav, etc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Cost leader in that segment in my view is likely to be a Hyundai Sonata plug-in.
        No confirmed release dates but they have said they could bring one out soon.
        20 mile electric range from their SK Energy battery pack.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @Eric Loveday puts the following words in the analyst's mouth:
      "the Prius' exceptional sales volume may DRIVE Toyota to drop its price"

      That makes no sense at all even for a clueless analyst, and ABG's incompetent summarizing is indeed incorrect as usual. A paragraph later you correctly report what Kitagawa actually said “As the Prius becomes more of a mass-market car, it may be time to THINK about lowering the price.”

      Also while garbling the analyst's guesswork, you missed the more interesting quotation at the end from Toyota itself. "For the fourth-generation Prius, Toyota aims to cut the cost of the car’s hybrid system by half, Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi said Dec. 24." That's the key that would ALLOW Toyota to drop the price of the best-selling car with unrivaled fuel economy.

      Verbs matter. ABG "writers" are incompetent, or more charitably, extremely rushed. You shouldn't even bother adding your gloss on others' stories if you can't get it right.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is what Prius C is all about. It will be the most affordable and the most fuel efficient Prius.
      • 4 Years Ago
      First, good to see a price drop, that can only help.
      But, if the Prius isn't a tech leader, what is?
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's not that the Prius isn't high-tech, it's that it's become...

        *common* gasp.

        It's not a premium product anymore because there's so darn many of them out there. So, it can't command a premium price.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "if the Prius isn't a tech leader, what is?"

        Anything doesn't use fossil fiels - like Nissan Leaf ?
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is why the Prius C is important as well. It allows what was essentially a car for enviros with padded wallets who could afford a pretty steep entrance price to become a real car for the masses. The Prius C would allow a second wave of buyers looking for sticker deals (yes, I know the Prius pencils out as quite economical, long run, but you only have so much in your budget when you shop).

      Anecdotal proof that the Prius has gone mainstream: My brother, who is quite conservative, not an environmentalist, not a car guy, just bought one. He has a new hundred mile commute, and the math was the defining factor for him. He bought a two year old model, but if a cheaper Prius had been available with comparable mileage, he would have bought new.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Folks, try reading and reflecting about the fact that the Prius 1 still hasn't hit the market in the U.S.

      Rather than price cuts on existing models, they'll offer a stripped model for less. Pure 1950's GM.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What I read was "The Prius isn't trendy anymore among the baby boomer tech crowd, so we can't keep riding that wave and have to lower the price to something that makes sense to everyone else who is trying to make a rational decision."
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      the prius is quite overpriced too yes.
      instead of a gearbox it has the planet gear and the two electric motors. and it can do without the starter motor, alternator and starter battery. so it should cost about the same as a conventional ICE car.
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