Green Update: Why the Prius Is Still Dominant
In a word, the Prius’s reputation is what still enables it to command top price (MSRP and over) in new and used markets. We all know it’s a good, if boring, car that does what it promises, holds its value and convinces owners they are being green.
Some celebs bought them initially, and that attraction may have rubbed off on others. Another factor is price. When the Prius plug-in arrives, it will beat the Volt’s price (and perhaps equal its performance) for $10,000 less. Average transaction price for a new Prius is $26,000, and the used-car market is soaring.
The New York Times reports that:
A 2008 Prius, with a Blue Book value of $13,600 a year ago, can command $18,250 today. A three-year-old Prius is worth 77 percent of its sticker price today, versus 48 percent a year ago, according to Kelley Blue Book.
Yes, the Volt may be a better car, but perhaps not given its price premium. GM has botched its production and delivery badly, so that market demand is not being met. And the “Made in U.S.A.” factor doesn’t seem to sell anymore.
The Prius has certainly had its own delivery problems—the latest being a press release that promised delivery of 75,000 cars by the end of the year. The company retracted the release, but most commenters think it’s true.
Which is good news for dealers, who had fewer than 3,000 cars on their lots on June 1. “In a good month, they can sell 25,000 units.”
And most important, two more factors in the Prius’s popularity are its design and reliability. Toyota made a relatively simple and effective hybrid system that works well and saves gas—lots of it—and that’s the reason 75 percent of potential hybrid buyers want one in the first place. There’s a good schematic (“infographic”) of the operating system here. We show part of it above.
Toyota’s reputation took an enormous hit last year, followed by the effects of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami. But Prius demand continues unabated and even increases. That’s a success story without equal in the auto world.
Is the Toyota Prius on your list of green cars to consider? Why, or why not?