Launched in 1997, the Toyota Prius was, for nearly two decades, a benchmark within the Japanese manufacturer’s range. Throughout its first three generations, this model was responsible for the enormous popularity of hybrid cars in markets as important as Japan, the United States, or Europe.
However, hybrid cars are no longer a niche option, and Toyota itself offers variants of this type in the vast majority of models it offers (Yaris, Yaris Cross, Corolla, C-HR, Camry, RAV4 …), so a dedicated hybrid like the Prius has no reason to exist. If we add to this the peculiar design of its fourth generation and Toyota’s decision not to homologate it as a taxi, we have as a result, sales in full decline around the world.
Thus, and after years of undeniable success, Toyota has decided to withdraw the Prius from Germany. Although it has only eliminated the sedan version, it is expected that in a few months, the Prius + minivan will also disappear. Germany will possibly be followed in the short term by other markets, although the brand has not given specific details.
The decision to discontinue the Prius in Germany is due to both the low sales of the model and the fact that Toyota wants to bet on both pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Two categories in which the Japanese firm is somewhat behind concerning to competitors like Volkswagen or the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
Does the Prius have a future? Possibly not in its current format, as Toyota’s existing range of hybrids already covers by far the main niches in the market and enjoys unquestionable success internationally. However, the model’s right name could be used to relaunch it as a 100% electric vehicle.
Although electric ones have surpassed today’s hybrids and plug-in hybrids as eco-friendly alternatives par excellence within the offer of manufacturers, the truth is that the name Prius continues to be unequivocally associated with “environmentally friendly.” Therefore, it would be of great interest for Toyota to take advantage of this good reputation garnered over decades to use the Prius nomenclature in a fully electric car.