Skip to main content

Spoiler Alert: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Demand Far Exceeds Available Supply

The launch of 2021 RAV4 Prime will be met with incredible demand. But, will there be enough units to go around?

This is an opinion piece by Torque News reporter Jeff Teague.

I have been surrounded by the world of Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs for the last 15 years. I have also owned 5 myself in this span. Needless to say, I am a true Toyota fan.

However, I do not think there has been a Toyota launch I can remember met with more anticipation than with upcoming 2021 RAV4 Prime.

Maybe the insanely popular 2019 RAV4 Hybrid. But Prime will be even crazier.

If you want one, you probably will not be able to get one immediately. Just plan now on a long wait time. It will be less stressful to anticipate this right away.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime specs

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Supersonic Red front end

I understand this huge buyer demand completely. Fans have been expressing tremendous excitement for months. Why would people not want to buy a RAV4 Prime?

This plug-in hybrid electric vehicle will average 90 MPGe (combination of gasoline plus electric efficiency) in fuel economy. It can be driven up to 39 miles on one single electric charge without using any gasoline.

This is Toyota next level stuff here, folks.

Plus, it will accomplish this fuel efficiency while becoming the fastest and most powerful Toyota RAV4 of all time. Imagine 302 horsepower (83 more hp than RAV4 Hybrid) with a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds. Only Toyota Supra is faster.

VIDEO: Compare RAV4 Prime specs vs RAV4 Hybrid. Also, compare RAV4 Prime SE vs XSE.

Yes, we all want one. Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be a problem.

I will take “RAV4 Prime Supply” for $800 please Alex

There will not be enough 2021 RAV4 Prime vehicles to meet the demand when it is officially launched. This I am nearly certain of.

Toyota is broken up into several selling regions. According to sources, Toyota will be placing allocation preference on states and “regions with higher natural demand for plug-in vehicles first.” This is aimed at meeting regulatory ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicles) requirements.

Most regions will be given far less supply, which a lot of consumers across the country may not realize yet.

For example, I live in the Southeast region. I have heard buzz that each dealer in this region can expect to receive just one total RAV4 Prime for 2020.

No way will this meet buyer expectations.

A rumored memo circulating through the Chicago Region may have confirmed this lack of RAV4 Prime supply.

“One RAV4 Prime per dealer based on total RAV4 Hybrid sales in 2019…We understand that the demand for this vehicle far exceeds the available allocation…At this time, production of the RAV4 Prime is extremely limited and it may take multiple model years before each dealer in the Region is offered at least 1 unit.”

This is the time to play that music we hear every time a contestant loses their game on The Price is Right.

Time for your thoughts on RAV4 Prime

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Interior

If this extreme lack of supply is true, I do not feel this is fair to potential buyers who have fallen in love with RAV4 Prime’s amazing offerings. In my opinion, it is the least I can do to help rip the band-aid off quickly to avoid severe buyer disappointment in the coming months.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is set up to instantly become one of the best-selling, most popular vehicles of all time. Provided, of course, there is sufficient supply to go around.

I am respectfully asking Toyota to keep up with this demand from the start. Everyone is waiting.

What do you think about 2021 RAV4 Prime? Are you excited and how would you use it? If you cannot get one, would you buy a RAV4 Hybrid instead?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I dig deeper into 2021 RAV4 Prime XSE.

Follow Jeff Teague on social media:

- Torque News Toyota - my regular column
- YouTube channel - My "Toyotajeff" Toyota reviews
- Facebook page "Toyotajeff"
- Instagram page @toyotajeff1
- Twitter @toyotajeff1

Thank you everyone for following me.


liam shield (not verified)    May 23, 2020 - 11:00AM

....remember the (forgettable) PT Cruiser? Also, the dealer mark-ups will be excessive. I doubt many will actually pay MSRP. Even our '07 RAV4 was popular 'in the day'. Our local dealer wouldn't discount the price as they were in high demand.

BigB (not verified)    May 23, 2020 - 10:02PM

I'm phsyched for one of these. As I live in California and we have the most stringent pollution standards and goals I'm sure we will get plenty of them here although my local dealer stated it would be later than untill thought, fall '20, to arrive due to Covid. Her could bee lying to sell me a regular hybrid but I ain't buying a regular one so...

Kevin (not verified)    May 23, 2020 - 10:12PM

I like everything I've read about the RAV4 Prime and an interested in maybe getting one, but I have not seen the price announced. If the price is too high (and Toyota could charge more based on demand) then financially it won't make sense for me to get one.

Woody (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 12:19PM

In reply to by Kevin (not verified)

Whatever the price is, subtract $7,500 since it qualifies for the full federal tax credit, then add any applicable state credit, assuming one qualifies for the credits.

Tom (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 6:58AM

I live in Florida. Will probably see this vehicle for sale sometime in 2050 or so, according to the estimates in this article. I looked at true electric, but I don't fit in a Model 3, and Model Y is too expensive. No other electric really for sale here. This PHEV RAV4 would suit my needs perfectly. Not gonna happen for years here.

Timothy Parker (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 9:16AM

From Toyota's perspective, I think this is what is called a "high-quality problem." Eventually, production will ramp to meet demand, but in the meantime, people will need to be very patient, or simply take a trip to a ZEV state to buy one. That's what I would do if I hadn't already made the jump to an EV.

Jack (not verified)    June 4, 2020 - 12:53PM

In reply to by Timothy Parker (not verified)

Definitely a good tip. I placed a deposit out of state because my parents live in a ZEV state. Now I just have to wait and see what the dealer actually ends up getting.

Art kirsch (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 10:24AM

I’ll be one of the first in line if it goes up to 50 mph on electric only. Small town outside of Las Vegas 35 and 45 mph speed limits. Otherwise it won’t work.

Ed G (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 11:49AM

Definitely agreed. I'm one of those individuals who is waiting for its release. I live in Phoenix and called around to local dealers, they all have "lists" of people to call when it's released already. I've realized chances are I won't be able get one in 2020, and/or I'm not willing to pay whatever the ridiculous premium will be attached to acquiring one. I've already conceded that I'll have one in 2021, plus it'll be out of the first model year.

Hopefully the gas tank issue sort out in this iteration as well.

Woody (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 12:09PM

The RAV4 Prime, as are all plug-in hybrids, is a stop-gap to appease those egging Toyota to innovate while ignoring the fundamentals of costly Li batteries that use rare metals like cobalt. Toyota will continue to make relatively low volume Primes because as they rightly said, it is far more beneficial to spread the battery materials across regular hybrids than to concentrate them into fewer Primes (or BEVs). Ultimately, Toyota is waiting for the next-gen batteries before going full volume, one that is sustainable and affordable to the masses, meaning cobalt-free and probably solid state.

John G (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 12:41PM

So, Toyota finally adopted the drive train design of the Chevy Volt and now it's the hottest thing since sliced bread.

Tom landry II (not verified)    June 15, 2020 - 10:45AM

In reply to by John G (not verified)

GM:our compact SUVs are our best selling vehicles and people are always asking for more power so we should make a little hybrid car with a 9+sec 0-60 time
Toyota: here is our best-selling SUV model with a sub 6s 0-60 time.

I wonder which vehicle will be the hottest thing since sliced bread?

Phrancis (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 1:33PM

I grew up in the rural South where big truck bros rolled coal on Priuses, but now live in a big blue west coast city where Tesla's are common and 2/3rds of our power comes from renewable sources. I don't feel guilty if Toyota allocates far more RAV4 Primes to my state.

Fred (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 4:06PM

I am in Canada and have a deposit on a RAV4 Prime. My dealer said they are expecting four of them and I have been guaranteed one of them. I am just hoping they arrive before November. I have been waiting a long time. I actually had my deposit on a RAV4 Hybrid since last summer and just before the one I ordered arrived, Toyota announced the RAV4 Prime. I cancelled my order on the Hybrid and they switched my deposit over to a Prime.

Tom (not verified)    May 26, 2020 - 3:14PM

In reply to by Fred (not verified)

OK we are in the same boat then. I'm in ON, which also doesn't have any provincial EV mandate or incentive. Glad to hear that AB is getting stock, and it's not just going to BC and Quebec.

Chris (not verified)    July 8, 2020 - 1:37PM

In reply to by Tom (not verified)

I work in Sales with Toyota in the Yukon.. can't say that we have any promised to us, but have heard that the delay has been pushed close to December. I have 2 dozen people waiting patiently to learn more about it

Jim Persinger (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 8:23PM

It’s about time they moved this to an all-electric, given the problems that have plagued more than 92,500 of the 2019 and 2020 Hybrid models. The claimed 40 mpg which only get in the 20s, the gas tanks which short almost all models by a few gallons or in some cases by more than 10 gallons, etc. The range on some of these vehicles has been under 100 miles between fill-ups, causing class action lawsuits and a new Toyota mantra of “buyer beware.” I know given their quality control issues the past couple of years, failure to disclose known manufacturing defects, and refusal to honor their warranties, I won’t be buying another Toyota anytime soon.

Bob Foss (not verified)    May 25, 2020 - 8:40PM

In reply to by Jim Persinger (not verified)

Yes this should be all electric like the RAV 4 was years ago. This PHEV is in a way a step backward, at least for me as I drive an EV...this is still a polluting gasoline vehicle. Also, the lithiums they use for this (they still use nickel-metal hydride in regular hybrids) will be obsolete as Toyota has announced their new solid-state battery system, as has GM. They will have greater range,charge quickly, and be safer with no liquid. I prefer "green" to this Prime coming out but would consider a RAV 4 if it becomes electric.

Al D (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 8:50PM

I'm hoping to buy a RAV4 Prime SE in the U.S., even if I can't get the full federal tax credit. However, if dealers jack up the price, I'll just hang onto my 2015 Camry SE until things calm down.

Would I buy a RAV4 hybrid? No way. Hybrids are obsolete. That plug, a bigger battery under the floor, and beefier electric motors at both ends make a huge difference. Tax credits and perks allowed by many states make them that much more inviting.

Tom (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 10:29PM

Jeff, do you have any insight as to the production capacity for the Prime? I presume output is bottleneck'd by the availability of lithium-ion battery supply right?
If a dealership only receives limited (or 1) unit(s), how do dealerships determine who is allowed to purchase the vehicle?

DMulyadi (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 11:45PM

Well this is gonna be like any high demand cars. If dealers gonna charge more because it's very popular car then look what the Subaru dealers did to make everyone get their Forester. Or how the Honda dealership did to Civic type R. The good news is this is not a limited edition car like Subaru S209. So mark up should NOT be too much unless they really want to lose market share, (remember the new RAV4 hybrid is not perfect yet because of the gas tank problem). With the current economy anything that is too much WILL NOT sell.

Steve (not verified)    May 25, 2020 - 1:53AM

"early adopters" are excitable people - but they are also useful guinea pigs for those of us who are happy to sit back and view the product objectively once the initial hype has subsided.

Bob (not verified)    May 25, 2020 - 5:42AM

Are you excited & how would you use it? Being as it’s a vehicle I’d do what any rational individual would do & keep it in the living room for extra seating when company comes over, Rose!

Not sure where that question was heading but I’d trade my prius in to upgrade if it actually hits in the 40mpg range. Guessing 420mpg/tank for lead footed people like me. My car is supposed to get 570mi on a tank but I do 10-15 over so...guessing this vehicle will hit somewhere around my usual for most people unless a stereotypical Prius owner gets one lol, rav4s doing 60 in a 70 that’ll be the day :)