The Toyota Prius became the world’s no. 3 best-selling car line in the first three months of 2012, mainly thanks to a high demand in the US as well as government rebates in Japan. During the first quarter of the current year, Toyota more than doubled the sales of the Prius, selling around 247,230 units around the world.
The company’s Corolla model topped global vehicle sales at 300,800 units, with Ford Motor Co.’s Focus model achieving 277,000 unit sales around the world to grab second place. With the Prius, which now refers to a four-model “family” of vehicles, and Corolla leading Toyota’s charge at the global car market, the Japanese carmaker became the world’s no. 1 carmaker in terms of sales for the first quarter of 2012.
With Prius’ growing popularity, Toyota now has three cars in the top 10 models in the United States this year, including Corolla and Camry. According to Eric Noble, president of automotive consultancy Car Lab, Prius’ achievement proves that the car was not a fluke and that there is a long-term market for hybrids.
Aside from strong US demand, Prius likewise benefited from the incentives given by the Japanese government to consumers who bought fuel-efficient cars to reverse slumping local deliveries.
The government offers rebates of up to JPY100,000 if consumers purchase one of any of the eligible cars, which include the Prius hatchback, wagon, plug-in and Aqua subcompact. The government also offers tax savings that would further cut the price by another JPY100,000 yen. One could purchase a Prius in Japan for an average price of around JPY2.5 million and in the US at around $25,000.