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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 seems to think that the Prius' exceptional sales volume may drive Toyota to drop its price.
Kitagawa claims 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 such as 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 ©2011 Sam Abuelsamid / AOL

[Source: Bloomberg]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why should Toyota drop the price? If people are willing to pay too much, that's their problem.

      Let the free market decide where the price should be (even though that's not popular concept anymore in an era of "change").
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree, but one thing to consider is what buyers will be willing to pay in a segment that is expected to become more crowded down the road. That is what those in the auto business must grapple with, not necessarily what buyers want today, but what they will want in a few years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly, why should they drop the price when its the #1 selling vehicle? Maybe theres a Japanese cultural thing that I don't get.

        You don't see Apple dropping the price of iPods while they have the lion's share of their market. Dropping the price is something you do when you need to increase sales, something neither is lacking...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would think that as demand rises, so too can Toyota raise the Prius pricetag.
      I would not be surprised at conjecture that states Toyota should do exactly that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      For the size and features, I think it is reasonably priced. It has a lot more tech than the Fit, it isn't sized like the Fit, why should it be priced like the Fit?

      Ford is the one that needs to drop the price on their Hybrids.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Fusion Hybrid has a lot of tech the Prius doesn't offer, so I don't really understand your comment. Granted, I personally wouldn't want any of it, but apparently some people do...
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Fusion hybrid also has a starting msrp $6000 higher than the Prius, that's more than 25% of the Prius' base msrp. I like Ford's hybrids, I've driven my father-in-law's new Fusion Hybrid, but it's a lot harder to make the case for buying a Fusion Hybrid when the Hybrid starts at over $28k and the base Fusion starts under $20k (and the Prius starts at $22k). I know the Hybrid comes with a lot of standard features that are only optional on the base, but why should customers have to choose an $8k premium to get a hybrid?

        The same situation applies to the Escape. The base Escape starts at $21k, but the Hybrid starts at $30k, a nearly 50% premium.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Analyst can pound sand... The larger Prius shouldn't be compared to the sub-compact Fit -- more like the upcoming Prius C, which yes, will be smaller and cheaper... Imagine that!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Expensive gas will negate any need for Toyota to drop the price. I really would like to get the coming wagon body to replace my gas hog (18-25 MPG actual) Mazda6 wagon.
      • 4 Years Ago
      H. This is the first I've noticed that this gen Prios has a grill opening that looks like a chubby-cheeked smile.
      • 4 Years Ago
      After 15 years of making the same car, granted with some updates, they may have actually moved into the black on these things. But I doubt by much. And if that's the case, I bet they'd rather sell a more traditional vehicle with a greater profit in its place. I don't see a volume increase unless their position for hybrid top seller is threatened.
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