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Toyota Prius
Toyota's Prius is a big hit globally

Although Prius drivers are often the butt of jokes here in the United States, the vehicles are still quite popular due to their lofty fuel economy numbers and "green" image. The original Prius was introduced to the United States in 2000 and is currently in its third generation. The larger Prius v was introduced late last year, while the smaller Prius c went on sale in the U.S. earlier this year.

The popularity of the Prius family of hybrids doesn't just apply to the U.S., however. Sales of the hybrids have been booming globally. According to Automotive News, the Prius is now the third best-selling nameplate in the world when it comes to the automobile sales through the first quarter of 2012 (247,230 units).

Toyota Prius v
First place goes to Prius' cheaper, older brother: the Toyota Corolla (300,800 units). In second place sits the Ford Focus (277,000 units), which was recently revamped with a host of technological improvements and new engines to boost infotainment options and fuel economy across the board.
With three different sizes of Prius available and with prices starting under $20,000, Toyota is hoping to solidify its position as a leader in hybrid vehicles. 

Toyota Prius c

Source: The Globe and Mail

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RE: Interesting
By Real_Time on 5/30/2012 6:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think the biggest motivator is gas savings. Once the gas market in the USA catches up to the rest of the civilized world, plug-in hybrids will be the norm rather than the exception.

RE: Interesting
By Solandri on 5/31/2012 6:41:10 AM , Rating: 2
U.S. gas prices are actually about the closest to true market cost. Gas prices in Europe and Asia are so high because of taxes added on by the governments there. Not that there's anything wrong with that - most of those countries have a much higher population density than the U.S., so try to discourage personal vehicle use and encourage public transportation. But it's foolhardy to assume what works best there will work best in the U.S.

It's interesting to note that despite having higher fuel prices for decades, hybrids and EVs were not developed for the European and Asian markets. It took California's stringent emissions requirements (not mileage requirements) to cajole automakers into making EVs and hybrids. That would suggest the biggest motivator is emissions, not fuel savings or fuel cost.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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