Now, according to a
report first aired in the Japanese newspaper Nikkei, the
2010 Toyota Prius was the top vehicle in total sales for the year of
2009 in Japan. In 2009, Japanese Prius sales reportedly grew
300 percent, reaching a national total of 208,876 units for the
The third-generation Prius packs a higher horsepower
electric motor and gas engine, adding 24 hp to the Prius's combined
horsepower. The drag coefficient is reduced, the vehicle
component weight is reduced, and the new battery pack is smaller and
Despite the car's success, there are some
troublesome signs, though. According to Koji Endo, managing
director of advanced Research Japan in Tokyo the Prius only makes
$2,100 USD profit per unit sold. Earlier in the year, estimates
of the profit margin stood at about $3,100
USD. Dropping profit margins came largely from cost cutting
to keep up with the 2010 Honda Insight, which moved 93,283 units and
was fifth place in total yearly sales.
To date, an
estimated 1.25 million Prius vehicles have been sold worldwide.
Toyota believes that the Prius will become its bestselling
model before long. However, it still has a long way to go
to achieve that goal. In the U.S., its sales were relatively
strong, but reportedly only landed it in 16th place.
Japanese market is arguably very different from the American market –
Japan's congested streets, high population density, and high
population concentration in urban centers make hybrids an easier
pitch. American buyers, many of which don't live in the city,
are still trying to weigh the benefits of hybrid vehicles.
year we test drove the 2010 Toyota Prius extensively, both in rural
and urban settings, and our impressions can be found