Prius sales are down, but how are Toyota's other hybrids selling?
John Goreham's picture

Prius, Corolla Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, and RAV4 Hybrid Each Outselling Every Affordable Electric Vehicle In America

Toyota's Prius sales continue to decline, but the Prius is just one of many hybrids the company sells. How are the rest doing these days?
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Electric cars are getting better by the moment. We have recently tested the fantastic Kia Niro BEV and Honda Clarity PHEV and both were so much better than past EVs we tested it is hard to even compare them to older EVs. We even liked the Kia Niro more than a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus in back to back testing. Yet, even with the big advances in electric vehicles this past year, hybrids from Toyota still outsell them all.

With still solid sales of just under 5,000 units, the Toyota Prius hybrid continues to outsell every affordable electric vehicle in America by more than three to one, but its sales drop cannot be sugar-coated. Down about 40% this April over April 2018, the new all-wheel drive Prius hybrid may help stop the bleeding a bit, but the patient will be headed to hospice care soon. However, the Prius Hybrid is just one of Toyota's many hybrid models. We thought we'd check in and see how they are selling.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (2019) - Outsells All Electric Crossovers Combined - Sales Up 66%
Toyota's RAV4 hybrid was selling very strongly for years until the new redesign interrupted the production flow. Toyota is back in action now and the new version of the RAV4 is a hit. Toyota sold a staggering 6,556 units in April, making it Toyota's top-selling green vehicle. We love the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, but the RAV4 earns literally 40-times more sales than the plug-in Outlander. The market speaks, we just report the news.

Toyota Camry Hybrid - Outsells Every Affordable EV - Sales Up 13%
With a monthly sales total of 2,128 units, the Camry is no slouch for a green car. It is quiet, comfortable, and in the largest car segment by size in America. The Camry hybrid is considered the top-trim of the Camry by many, including this reviewer.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid - Outsells Tesla Model X
With 1,104 units sold, the hybrid trim of the Highlander represents about 7% of overall Highlander sales. The Highlander and Tesla's Model X have nothing in common except being three-row green vehicles with AWD. Still, the Highlander's sales, even in a down month, still outpace the EV.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid - New To Market - Outsold Every Affordable EV in April
The all-new 52 MPG Corolla hybrid has just hit the market and it immediately outsold every affordable electric vehicle on the U.S. market. With sales of 1,403 units, it barely beat the Prius Prime, the top-selling affordable EV in America in April.

What About Tesla?
Wondering how Tesla's three vehicles did? The premium/performance Model 3 earned 10,050 unit sales in April. The luxury/performance Model X 1,050 units (not a typo), and the luxury/performance Model S just 825 units. In total, Tesla sold 11,925 vehicles in April according to our trusted source for EV sales figures, Inside EVs. Tesla does not publish monthly sales figures because the poor results scare investors. Tesla's sales rate in the U.S. has dropped dramatically since the second half of 2018. By contrast to Tesla's sales, Toyota sold 19,804 hybrids plus another 1,399 plug-in hybrid Prius Primes. Thus, for April, Toyota sold about twice the number of green vehicles than Tesla. Toyota's Lexus division sold 3,056 hybrids we have not counted in Toyota's tally. Lexus green car sales were up 61% in April.

Related Story: Tesla Model 3 Effect - Chevy Dealers Discount 2019 Bolt Electric Vehicles Almost $10,000 In Race For Bottom Of The Market


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Comments

I'd better wait for a new RAV4 EV
I'm sure that you just knew that I would raise a red flag about these numbers John. Of course the numbers themselves are quite accurate, but it is the spin that you have placed on their meaning that I question. First off, you specifically qualify your headline saying that each Toyota EV outsells EVERY "affordable" EV in America. That is only true if you exclude the Tesla Model 3 from being "affordable", but if you include it in the running then the Model 3 alone outsells each of the Toyota EV models by a good margin. Am I surprised that Toyota's new hybrid lineup is a success? Not one bit. Heck, I even own a Toyota Corolla myself, and I know why they are top sellers. Same goes for Hondas. Plus Toyota does a new refresh of the Corolla model and and charges a meager $2500 more for the new hybrid version which gives you 53/52MPG compared to the regular Corolla's 31/38MPG. I figure that is part of the reason for the recent Prius' sales dip. Again with the Highlander Hybrid, it is a new model, and the hybrid version rides on the coattails of it's successful gas-only brother with 7% of the sales. Just like the Camry hybrid does off of it's top selling gas-only brother. As you readily admit, the Highlander Hybrid is not really in competition with the Model X, but the new Audi E-Tron is actually comparable, and it is also brand new, but so far has only 1/4 of the sales of the Model X. Plus these April numbers predate the recent BIG drop in prices for the Model X and Model S, and the increase in range of both models. For now we cannot be certain of how the Model Y preorders will affect other Tesla models moving forward. Plus with Chevy dropping the Cruze and Volt, and Ford offering an uncertain hybrid future, it is no surprise that Toyota is cleaning up on the new hybrid introduction across their model lineup. I am a little disappointed that Toyota doesn't offer a hybrid version of the Model 86, as there currently is no competition yet for affordable hybrid sportscars. But perhaps there were packaging problems, and it's too much of a niche market already to justify the R&D expense. Still I'm sure that Tesla would be proud to know that just their Model 3 alone has half the monthy sales of ALL of the Toyota EV models combined. And importantly all of the competing BMW, Audi, and Mercedes EV sales combined are a fraction of the Tesla sales. So Tesla is still doing just fine thanks. If there is a lesson to be learned here from Toyota's hybrid sales success, it NEEDS to be learned by GM, Ford and Chrysler, who have once again dropped the ball, and who SHOULD have offered plug-in and hybrid versions across their whole model lineup, including their trucks. Toyota's hybrid sales success puts the lie to GM's claims that the Volt was not successful enough, and Chrysler's claim that American buyers only want to buy gas guzzling trucks and SUVs. It is ironic that many of Toyota's successful hybrid models are actually being built right here in the U.S. using similar American union workers, that GM and Ford will be avoiding with their upcoming EV models which will most likely be built in China. So kudos to Toyota for having faith in America. In our workers and our economy minded buyers who will reward them for their long-term thinking.
Thank you Dean. You make some very good points here. Tesla is a very strong player in the premium/performance and luxury vehicle markets. However, it has no sales in the affordable vehicle marketplace during the reporting period. I used Tesla's comparisons here for perspective. There is no lack of reporting on Tesla's sales volume. However, I have not seen any reporting on the sales success of hybrids. All I see are bad news stories related to the Prius with very little context. -- Just one point to clarify; As far as I know, Toyota has no U.S. plants that have a unionized workforce (meaning UAW). The high cost of labor and union representation was a big reason Toyota ditched the NUMMI plant that it traded to Tesla for stock. Please do correct me if I am mistaken. The reason Ford, FCA, and GM are quitting small cars for the American market can be summed up in three letters: UAW.
I stand corrected John. You are totally right about Toyota not using union labor. You would think that the UAW would make concessions to keep jobs here in the U.S., but maybe not. As gas prices rise, the sales of the now profitable, lower gas mileage vehicles will drop in the U.S. So it is valuable and timely to keep track of hybrid sales growth. Some idealists only want a full transition to only BEVs right away, but they miss the fact that the realistic move towards electrification of vehicles is a path where automakers design hybrid versions of current models (although I am not a fan of mild-hybrids) and then build plug-in hybrid models that are essentially full EVs, but with gas backup, and eventually build new BEVs. So it is good to take note that some automakers are already building hybrids today, and that customers are buying them in record numbers. Fuelling the larger transition to electric cars across the board, rather than just the most profitable niche buyers,