Toyota is planning to make some more model reductions in the coming year to its very deep bench. Sedans are in general dropping in sales and small economy cars are becoming less and less popular as time passes. Jim Lentz, Toyota North America's chief executive officer, recently laid out the plan saying that Toyota is ...“taking a hard look at all of the segments that we’re competing in.” He added, “We have got a large number of passenger cars. You would expect that to come down over time.” That has us wondering is the Prius c is on the chopping block.
For a moment, let's set aside any bias we might have about whether or not the Prius c is a "good car." That is up to the shopper or owner to decide. Rather, let's look at some solid reasons why it would appear as if the Prius c is a good candidate for removing from the North American lineup. Then, we will offer some facts to support the idea that the Prius c is deserving of keeping a place in Toyota's lineup.
Reasons To Discontinue Prius c In North America
1) Sales. The Prius c is a slow mover by most definitions. Toyota is only selling about 500 of them each month in America and sales have declined a whopping 43% recently.
2) Toyota has three alternatives. The Yaris and Prius are both reasonable alternatives to the Prius c, and so too will the new Corolla Hatchback be for some buyers. Cutting loose the Prius c does not mean Toyota will be turning away a customer.
Reasons To Keep The Prius c
1) Sales - The Prius c may not sell well as a car in general, but think of it as a green car and its sales are not that bad at all. Do Subaru, Mazda and VW have a green car that sells better in the U.S.? The answer is no. Does FCA American have an affordable green car that sells better? No. There are many brands that would love to have a green car that sells this "well" in America.
2) CAFE. Corporate Average Fuel Economy is that little bugaboo from California's CARB that averages all of an automaker's models' MPG ratings together. Automakers must meet certain metrics or suffer the wrath of the EPA (if it ever returns to its all-powerful Oz-like status again). Every Prius c out the door enables one more V8-powered Lexus RC F or a Tundra pickup to be built without penalty for Toyota. V8s are very, very profitable. And fun.
3) Economics. Unlike many cars in the U.S that are selling slowly, the Prius c is a hugely popular model for Toyota in other markets. It is presently the number two car sold in the Japanese market. It was number one for a long time. In Japan, Toyota sells over 100,000 of these little gems each year in its market. Throwing a few on the boat in between the Lexus models it ships is easy peasy. The crash tests are done. The EPA requirements are done. Toyota has zero development costs to keep the Prius c alive.
Who Says It Will Go?
A quick list of the folks who see the Prius c going away includes Car and Driver, The News Wheel, and Top Speed. Heck, the Detroit Free Press actually says that Toyota SHOULD kill the Prius c off. But, we are guessing they forgot that it was a top-selling unit internationally.
What say you Torque News readers. Prius c - will it stay, or will it go and why?