Given the one-two punch of extremely low gasoline prices and the Prius undergoing a transition to a new model generation, one would expect sales to dip, and they have. Toyota’s Prius family sales are down about 25% compared to last year. In March, Toyota sold about 4,000 less Prius vehicles than it did in March of 2015. However, Toyota’s very detailed sales report sheet reveals an interesting fact. Most of those lost hybrid sales have been made up by Toyota with the new 2016 RAV4 Hybrid.
The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid is an all-new model for the Toyota family and Toyota launched it directly into the path of record low gasoline prices. Given the fact that the conventional RAV4 is presently a top seller in the hot compact crossover segment, it would be easy to assume the Hybrid’s sales would be low. But they are not.
With 3,073 units sold in March, the RAV4 Hybrid is selling at about the same pace as some mainstream crossovers from brands like Volkswagen (3,519 Tiguans sold in March) and Lincoln (1,956 MKCs sold in March). The RAV4 line in total sold 29,045 units in March including the hybrids. Thus, more than 10% of the RAV4s sold are hybrids.
Cars have jumped the shark in America. Every automaker is seeing reductions in car sales or slower growth of popular car models. Crossovers are taking over, and Toyota is one of the few companies to act on that shift by offering green choices to its customers in this, the largest non-truck segment in the U.S. automotive market.
Watch for our full review of the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid later this week.