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3 Reasons The 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid Could End Prius Production

WIth Toyota adding another hybrid to the vehicle line-up, my thoughts turn to Prius. Here is what I believe is going to happen with the famed little car.


Hybrid cars radically changed everything we know about the automotive industry today. Prius has become a household name, and even people who do not drive one understand what it is. The little fuel sipper has been famous for over 20 years.

2000 Toyota Prius Green

Toyota Motor Corporation was right when they decided to build Prius. It indeed has been everything that our rising generation has needed to combat the increasing demand for energy consumption.

As the world population increases, the need for energy increases also. Prius and all hybrids have not replaced gasoline cars but have given us a way to use better the energy we already have. Hybrids and electric vehicles alike are supplements to our desire as humans to consume energy.

So, what happens when Toyota keeps making more hybrids? What is their end goal here? I want to cover why I think Toyota is hybridizing the world and what this could mean for the founder, Prius.

Reason 1: Another Hybrid Added To The Line-Up
I hope that I am dead wrong about this. I hope that Toyota never ends Prius production, but I think they could. With the 2021 Sienna now coming to dealerships later this year, it makes me wonder what Toyota has planned for Prius.

Remember, Prius is the "before" car, meaning that Toyota has even bigger plans for the future of transportation. So what if Toyota created Prius to prove to the world that hybrids are a sustainable form of transport? Does this mean that with even more vehicles hybridized that Prius will be cut from the lineup?

If you think about it, that could hold some merit. Corolla hybrid and Camry hybrid are two very viable and well-known cars, and with the sedan segment dying off (as I will talk about in a minute), Prius could potentially be on the chopping block.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid White Front Shot

Of course, this is pure speculation, but when adding a seven-seat hybrid family vehicle, you begin to question why. Let us examine two other reasons before we jump to any conclusions.

Reason 2: People Want More Space
I think another reason Prius could be close to the production end is the demand for more space in the typical family car. It is no secret that Prius sales have been on the decline while other vehicles like the Rav4 Hybrid have exploded.

Rav4 Hybrid is not at fuel-efficient as Prius though, so why would that Hybrid be more popular. The answer is space. People are moving away from smaller cars and getting into larger vehicles. The fact that larger vehicles are getting better fuel economy than they ever have has changed the minds of consumers.

2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid Cargo Area

Sienna is going to be very popular with the family crowd. The offering of over 30 miles per gallon from a seven-seater minivan is unheard of for that kind of vehicle. Sienna is merely more convenient than Prius when dealing with kids, groceries, and extended family vacations.

But wait, there is more.

Reason 3: The Family Sedan Era Has Closed
Sedans and wagons used to be the family car. When the invention of the minivan came to be, the whole world changed, much like it did when Prius came out. There was also the Chevy suburban, a large SUV that was a great people hauler and had far more cargo space.

Prius is neither a spacious (although it does have excellent cargo room) nor large people hauling vehicles. As families began having more kids, the demand for a car with more seats increased significantly.

2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid Wheel Chair Accessable

The sedan segment has been winding down for quite some time now. Companies like Toyota have taken note of this change and tried very hard to strategize to keep sales up. The introduction of the Camry AWD-e platform is one of those strategies.

Both Camry and Corolla have staple products for Toyota for a very long time. To get rid of those cars could mean an even bigger upset in the market. Prius, on the other hand, has been around for just over 20 years, not nearly as long as the other two. Even though Prius is branded, it would be easier for Toyota to chop it out of the line up rather than keep it on for the long haul.

The fact is, people are not buying sedans like they used to, and the numbers show it. The Sienna is one more vehicle that fits the ever-growing need for a bigger car that can do more.

Look, I get it, this sounds crazy, right? But what if I am right? What if Toyota all of a sudden decided to end Prius ultimately? If you do not think they would do such a thing, as the Scion brand, what happened to them.

Honestly, I would not be surprised if Toyota cut back on Prius production or even ended it. Prius C and V have both been terminated already for low sales numbers, and Prius has been steadily on the decline for quite some time.

Maybe I am entirely wrong, and I hope I am. I enjoy my Prius, and it is a superb vehicle, I would hate to see the car that brought us so much joy, gone.

That is all for today. I hope you are all staying safe out there in this crazy world in which we live. I look forward to seeing you in the next story. Coronavirus Could Push Toyota To Sell Prius The Way It Was Intended.

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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.


Sunfuels (not verified)    May 20, 2020 - 8:33AM

>The offering of over 30 miles per gallon from a seven-seater minivan is unheard of for that kind of vehicle.

The Chrysler Pacifica hybrid does that and has been on sale for 4 years. You would think a writer specializing in hybrids would be aware of that.

Remi (not verified)    May 20, 2020 - 12:55PM

Toyota makes arguably better hybrid sedans than the Prius. Sales figures will tell us how many Prius fans vs Toyota hybrid fans. If sales drop then Toyota should keep the name around and stick it on a crossover for posterity sake.

Barry Allen (not verified)    May 20, 2020 - 5:11PM

Do you know what has a lower sales volume than sedans/hatchbacks by a substantial margin? That's right, minivans.

Arkster (not verified)    May 21, 2020 - 10:22AM

I think Toyota can drop the Prius sedan now since Corolla hybrid is available, but should keep Prius station wagon as unique Prius. So people who need a smaller car can buy a Corolla, but those who need a little more room can go for Prius station.

Geoff (not verified)    May 22, 2020 - 7:17AM

This article and comments are very much from a U.S. perspective.
The car on the other hand is sold all over the world.
Also, from environmental considerations (remember those??) the Prius plug-in has been reviewed in more than one country as one of the greenest cars available, greener than some EVs.
Hybrid however will be replaced by EVs. Legislation requires that in many countries. So I think its clear that the Prius name worried be very appropriate a Toyota mass market EV.

Muhammad Akhte… (not verified)    September 4, 2020 - 12:36PM

Just checked Toyota UK website. Prius + discontinued in UK. Still being sold in Europe but I guess it will end soon.

Atanacio Luna (not verified)    May 16, 2021 - 9:12AM

Love my Prius Eco. In the city, I regularly get over 60 mpg. I pull a 3/4 ton trailer with it up Goets hill in Perris, CA, and it does just fine. I think hybrid technology is far greener than EV. Next level of hybrid might include a vacuum-sealed flywheel, and lighter construction materials to attain over 100 mpg. As a pickup, hybrids will be awesome. As we learn more about CO2 reduction I think hybrids will increase their role, Prius brand or not.