The Toyota Prius, the most popular hybrid in the world, was also the most popular plug-in vehicle in U.S. last month.

Compared to sales of the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, which sold 1,462 and 370 units, respectively, the $32,000 Prius Plug-in quietly sold 1,654 copies in April, reports PluginCars. With such strong name recognition and pent-up demand for a Prius with a cord, this shouldn't really have been a surprise. But it still kind of is.

But, really, it shouldn't be, since Toyota sold more Prius models in the U.S. last month than ever before in April (March 2012 was the Prius' best month ever), even though the number of selling days was short. The four members of the "Prius family" sold a combined 25,168 units, an increase of 126.9 percent compared to April 2011 (which was right after the Japanese tsunami). Overall, Toyota and Lexus sold 32,593 hybrids last month, 30,126 of them wearing the Toyota badge, 2,467 of them the upper class Lexus models.

Last year, Toyota said it expects to sell 16,000-17,000 Prius Plug-in models in 2012. Since Toyota doesn't break out model numbers, we're not sure what the total is for the year thus far, but 1,654 plug-ins a month will certainly let the company hit that target.
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Toyota Sales Increase 11.6 Percent in April 2012
Camry Up 20.9 Percent; Prius Records Best Ever April


TORRANCE, Calif. (May 1, 2012) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported sales of 178,044 units, an increase of 25.5 percent compared to April 2011 on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Unadjusted for 24 selling days in April 2012 versus 27 selling days in April 2011, TMS sales were up 11.6 percent over the year-ago month on a raw volume basis.

The Toyota Division posted April total sales of 160,493 units, an increase of 27.2 percent over April 2011 on a DSR basis. Volume-wise, Toyota Division sales were up 13.1 percent over the year-ago month.

"Thanks to continued strong sales of Camry and Prius family, Toyota was America's number one retail brand for the second straight month," said Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "With consumer confidence improving, we expect to see sustained industry growth in the months ahead."

The Lexus Division reported total sales of 17,551 units, up 12.3 percent over April 2011 on a DSR basis. Volume-wise, Lexus Division sales were flat compared to last year.

Toyota Division
Toyota Division passenger cars posted combined sales of 99,450 units, up 44.3 percent over April 2011. Camry and Camry Hybrid led passenger cars with combined monthly sales of 36,820 units, an increase of 36.1 percent year-over-year. The Prius family recorded its best ever April with sales of 25,168 units, increasing 126.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Corolla reported sales of 24,804 units, up 15.2 percent over the year-ago month. Avalon was also up with sales of 2,881 units, a 20.9 percent increase.

Toyota Division light trucks recorded April sales of 61,043 units, an increase of 6.5 percent compared to April 2011. The RAV4 compact SUV led light trucks, posting monthly sales of 15,196 units, up 9.7 percent over last year. Highlander and Highlander Hybrid reported combined sales of 9,352 units, an increase of 18.3 percent over the year-ago month. The 4Runner midsize SUV recorded April sales of 3,783 units, increasing 5.7 percent. The Tacoma mid-size pickup posted sales of 10,901 units, an increase of 16.7 percent over April 2011, and the Tundra full-size pickup reported sales of 7,219 units. The Sienna minivan recorded sales of 9,451 units.

Scion posted April sales of 5,503 units, up 8.4 percent versus April 2011. The tC sports coupe led the way with sales of 2,008 units, and the xB urban utility vehicle recorded April sales of 1,617 units. The all-new iQ premium micro-subcompact posted monthly sales of 962 units, followed by the xD five-door urban subcompact with 916 units.

Lexus Division
Lexus reported passenger car sales of 9,441 units, up 25.6 percent over April 2011. The entry luxury sedan ES led Lexus passenger car sales with sales of 3,000 units. The IS luxury sports sedan recorded April sales of 2,344 units, flat compared to the same period last year. The GS and GS hybrid posted combined sales of 2,006 units, an increase of 486.2 percent over the year-ago month. The CT 200h premium hybrid compact posted sales of 1,620 units, increasing 108.3 percent year-over-year.

Lexus luxury utility vehicles reported sales of 8,110 units, flat versus April 2011. The RX and RX hybrid posted combined monthly sales of 6,842 units, while the LX recorded sales of 517 units, up 92.6 percent over last April.

TMS Hybrids
TMS posted April sales of 32,593 hybrid vehicles, an increase of 124.6 percent compared to the same period last year. Toyota Division posted sales of 30,126 hybrids for the month, up 142.7 percent over the year-ago month. Lexus Division reported monthly sales 2,467 hybrids, increasing 17.6 percent year-over-year.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 160 Comments
      usbseawolf2000
      • 1 Day Ago
      The question is how many kWh of electricity did it take? Remember, 1 charge for Volt = 4 charges for Prius PHV. Cars that operate on two fuels cannot be measured with only one. You need quantitative amount consumed for both fuels. You post is gasoline consumption regardless of the amount of electricity consumed.
      SNP
      • 1 Day Ago
      lol, 20 minutes. You just find an empty unit, park, slide your credit card, and fill it up. Usually full enough in a minute @ 20-40 dollars worth of gas for a couple hundred miles of usage. If all you got is cash, then walk inside and be out in a few minutes. LMAO. You check your oil ever few weeks? You always use the restroom? Take a walk around the gas station? Give me a break... 30-60 minutes for 20kwh of power will put me to sleep. That means I've gotta stop and do it all over again after another hour of driving. Dont get me wrong, i'm not anti-EVs or anti-efficient. I just value my life a little more and dont want to spend 1hr charging for every 1hr of driving. Comparatively, a PHEV/ICE/Hybrid engine can keep me on the road for several hours after spending 5min to refill. People got lives to carry on with and money is valuable. Nobody's gonna waste both just to be called green.
      Ryan
      • 1 Day Ago
      I've never filled up in 2 minutes. 5 to 20 is more like it. Especially if I have to check my oil, buy a quart and add it. Get something to eat, go to the restroom, and take a walk. We need to shoot for getting 20 kWh in 30-60 minutes for fast charging...
      ruphboy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have to wonder if this initial high sales number is due to lack of supply? A friend of mine has just taken delivery of her Prius Plug-In, but has been on the waiting list for months. Her delivery date was delayed by Toyota on three different times due to production delays.
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 1 Day Ago
        @ruphboy
        This is a good point, this is the first full month of Plug-In Prius deliveries - ever, I believe - so its going to be months of just selling every one Toyota sends over to cover existing customer orders. We won't have a good feel for market demand till its rolled out across the country and its been on the market long enough to satiate the initial adopters (maybe winter 2013). That's not to take away from the good number it is. Sell all you can Toyota (wish you did better technically with the car but such is life).
      hahiran
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think we all should have seen this coming. Shopper comes in to shop for new Prius, maybe having owned the previous model. Salesperson shows them new shiny Prius plug-in, which they had been secretly dreaming of for years. They drive it, they love it, they buy it. Toyota is in the catbird seat here because they are the only manufacturer who can do this kind of upsell in a serious way. I doubt many people walk into a Nissan showroom shopping for an Altima and end up in a Leaf, or shopping for a Malibu and end up in a Volt. Maybe it happens on occasion, but a Prius shopper is much more likely to be eco-conscious and willing to spend a just a few thousand more to boost their eco-cred. I thought Nissan would be the company who became the established leader in electric driving, but maybe this more incremental approach works better in the long-run. The tortoise wins again.
        Naturenut99
        • 1 Day Ago
        @hahiran
        You're absolutely correct on the assumptions of someone already going in to buy a Prius. But not if they are cross shopping EV's/PHEV's. There are still reasons for someone to choose the PIP over the others. Some cant come up with the extra couple grand or dont believe the Volt is big enough, or the Leaf has long enough range. But the PIP is less than in a lot of ways. Everyone has to analyze their driving needs. Plus, how could one auto maker make all the plug-ins we need. They all have to build them, and some are going to be different.
        Rotation
        • 1 Day Ago
        @hahiran
        It's nothing to do with that. Prius owner recalls when he could drive solo in the carpool lane, but cannot anymore. Sales person tells them if they buy a plug-in Prius they can do so again, even if they never plug it in. Sale made.
        GR
        • 1 Day Ago
        @hahiran
        You may have a point there. Toyota constantly denied that they were building a PIP and then surprise! They build one. I guess now the question isn't IF we'll see a PIP in the future with 25 or 50 mile EV range, or IF we'll see a 100 mile EV-only Prius, but WHEN?
      SNP
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toyota's market cap and ultimately share price requires that they keep that cash hoard on hand. It's used both as a buffer for emergencies and credit downgrades. Notice that their market cap is several times higher than any other automaker. If the board were to use any significant sum of that, their share price would nose dive and considering that most of the japanese citizens have vested their retirement in toyota, they would face huge political backlash. On top of all that, the yen is at a multi-decade strength against the Dollar. That has already cut billions of dollars in profits from all japanese companies that profits from the US. With no sign of a weakening yen or strengthening Dollar, the strong double digit profit margins from the past 2 decades are gone. So yes, toyota is desperately looking for ways to grow profit margins. Even at the culturally disgraceful act of closing japanese plants to move production overseas like china/usa. Just like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Toyota's $50B in reserves cannot be used unless there's a dire situation, which would inevitably mean massive management/structural changes. But likewise, they need to try to maintain their historic profit margins so investors dont pull out which would tank share price. Right now, the most profitable global large scale automaker is Ford. Just so you understand, Honda is in the same boat as Toyota except Honda doesnt have the huge cash reserves, so they've been gutting R&D. And if you didnt notice, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Mazda, are all in the same geo-political/global financial boat. Those 3 firms are posting huge losses and are pulling out of the US market/looking for mergers/selling their technology. If you didnt understand yet, this is the strength/focus of the Obama administration. They've played this game of global financial chess very very well.
      SNP
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toyota had no problem recklessly expanding their NorthAmerican operations like mad from 1990-2008. That's one of the reasons for the slate of quality problems stemming from the 2004-2009 model year vehicles which were all engineered/designed in the 2000-2005 periods. Toyota wants to sell more, but they dont want to risk it in since their humbling experience with quality issues/coverups, their current profit margin risks, and the still lingering global financial instability as well as their own country's manufacturing limitations.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      I never would have thought that the brand vs brand of PHEV is more contentious than boondoggles like Ethanol/Hydrogen, but here we are with well over 100 posts, mostly it seems about Prius vs Volt. If I was looking for a Plug in, I would go pure: So Leaf being what would be in my price range. But Prius vs Volt. There are great many tradeoffs for each. Volt has longer EV range, better EV performance. Prius has better efficiency in both EV and (especially) gas powered mode. If you have a short commute, the Prius will likely cost less to operate, long commute the Volt will. If you do a lot of road trips, the Prius will cost less to operate. There is a case to be made for either if you are in the market for a PHEV.
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @PeterScott
        It is not about Brand v. Brand. It is about price/performance.
          PeterScott
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          So you don't recognize there are pros and cons to each?
          Spec
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          Of course there are pros & cons between each. That is my point, the discussion has been about the pros & cons each and not about whether one car is better than the other depending on if the brand labels say "Toyota" or "Cheverolet".
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM eAssist is even better.
      sandos
      • 1 Day Ago
      I think I say a youtube video saying it would take at least 30 seconds to accelerate to 60 in EV mode without turning on the engine.
      Naturenut99
      • 2 Years Ago
      Actually, they originally were trying to get the plug-in out as the 2008 model. Which then became the 2010, but without the plug option even though they designed it to be. It was weird to say the least on not having the plug option ready for 2010. Not having the 3rd gen for 6 years instead of 4... ok. But then make everyone wait again and coming out with a lesser version... Aftermarket Co's have better EV range than Toyota does. Although it would have to be in a 3rd gen. in order to get the mph in EV mode upped.
      marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not operating in the USA, I buy cars without government incentives so perhaps my comparisons are more aimed at the overall value of the car for it's purpose. (although the UK has just announced incentives) For private use, the Prius (any model) is an excellent Hybrid. Toyota build quality and real value for money. The plug in versions definitely add to the ownership experience. Fleet-wise they are an outstanding little vehicle. over the last 10 years, Prius has proved to be a very good return on investment. (The same can be said for most Lexus hybrids). So why am I trading ageing Prius for GM Volt/Ampera's ? Not because the Toyota is not a good product, but the GM product has more prestige and the EREV drive train is another evolutionary development from the hybrid, in EV technology. The GM product makes a better statement as a middle executive company car than the Prius. ( running costs should be similar. ) In Australasia we continue to operate the Blade Electron EV's for commuter travel. The Blade is an excellent little EV, easily superior to the iMev and locally produced. (It's also cheaper than the Leaf). With Renault, Mitsubishi, Ford, PSI, Nissan and VW entering the market with various types of EV technology, not forgetting Tesla and Fisker, it's very heartening to see such a relatively rapid adoption of EV technology. Seventeen years ago when I stated advocating EV technology, most people thought I was mad ! ( still think I'm mad, just not about EV's :) Soon Cadillac , Yulon, Smith, Hino, and other marques will continue to spread EV technology to every niche of the Vehicle market. It just keeps getting better!
        usbseawolf2000
        • 1 Day Ago
        @marcopolo
        Thank you for being honest. Great, if you are doing it for the image and buy into bigger battery -> better image. Remember the basic needs and hope you are not taking them for granted.
          marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          @usbseawolf2000 I don't know why, but you seem to miss the point of what others are saying to you. Probably because you don't try to understand issues outside your own prejudices. I am not misled by 'battery size' and I have no idea why you would think that the size of the battery determines EV automotive prestige. Leaf and Tesla are both unsuitable as company vehicles. Neither are sufficiently versatile, or practical. Leaf would do no better than our locally built Blade Electrons which are cheaper and only really suitable as city bound vehicles. The Tesla S, is not yet available in the US, let alone the Pacific region, and when it is, it would both impractical and very expensive. In the UK, the choice is easier, the Vauxhall Ampera is a middle management, prestige company car with some green(er) image. Your highly personalised analysis, reflects only the way you think! When buying for others, a whole range of considerations must be taken into account. When buying company vehicles, the employee must be proud of the vehicle. His car displays what his employer thinks of him. His wife, family and friends opinions must be taken into account. In addition, the car must be versatile enough to adapt to changing circumstances. The employee's domestic circumstances may change, and suddenly lose easy charging facilities. Staff, leave or get promoted, and the car reassigned. The vehicle must be able to be used for long distance driving. etc. Oh, by the way, Australasia includes New Zealand where most power is Geo-thermal or Hydro ! Australia has the world largest, and cheapest LPG infrastructure. heavily supported by the Federal and state governments. All three local automobile manufacturers offer a range of LGP models, LPG/Gasoline models, even an LPG/ hybrid ! Given the availability of government subsidies, LPG models are roughly the same price as gasoline equivalents. Coal fired Electricity is not great, but it's still better than gasoline.
          usbseawolf2000
          • 1 Day Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          @marcopolo: I was trying understand what your definition of "prestige" was. No prejudices or judgement was intended/passed on, upon you. I apologize if my previous post ticked you off. I am still not clear who (or what set of criteria) decides which car is suitable for middle management position. Last I heard, Vauxhall is in trouble. I am in the US so I don't know the situation there. Coal powered EVs are better than 30 MPG gas cars but not true vs 50 MPG hybrid.
          marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          @usbseawolf2000 I think you misunderstand. As a car, the Volt/Ampera has more prestige than Prius. When middle management salary sacrifice, for a company car, a Prius was not what they have in mind ! The Volt is a different class of car. I am hoping that GM Australia will produce the long discussed Buick Ampera, thereby moving Voltec technology even further upmarket. I would swap my own Lexus GS 450h for an ELR Cadillac in a flash. Despite the excellent build quality of the Lexus, my commitment to EV technology makes that my personal choice. However, when supplying company cars, part of the objective is to select a vehicle which can be a source of pride for the employee, and a symbol of the companies commitment to green values. That balance is better achieved with the GM Ampera, than a Prius.
          usbseawolf2000
          • 1 Day Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          I think it is all in your head and you've bought into the hype and marketing. You are buying a Chevy instead of a Toyota. If the battery or electric motor size determine your level of "prestige", Leaf or Tesla may be a better choice. If you are doing it for the green values, look at the 95 MPGe vs. 94 MPGe rating. Know that 77% of the electricity in Australia is from Coal... not sure about Australasia but 77% is the average for the entire Australia. You also need to know that about 2/3 of the energy used to generate, transmit, and distribute electricity is “lost” at power plants and in power lines -- according to US EIA. The figure is 15% loss for gasoline. If you are looking to properly balance, look into well-to-wheel analysis that includes carbon footprint all the way from the well of the energy sources to the wheel of the vehicle.
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