Thanks to falling gas prices, the Toyota Prius may not reach its target growth in 2013. The automaker planned on selling 250,000 Prius models this year in the US, which would be a 5.6 percent increase over 2012. However, in the first quarter of the year, sales of the hybrid line dropped 8.4 percent.
Just as gas prices have fluctuated in the last decade, so have sales of gasoline-electric cars and trucks. According to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge report, regular grade gas was $3.506 a gallon on April 18, down 9.9 percent from the April 2012 price of $3.891 a gallon.
Although Prius sales may be down, both Toyota and Lexus have seen a combined 2.4 percent increase of hybrid deliveries. Prius owners are switching their vehicles for new hybrid models like the Toyota Avalon and the Lexus CT200h. “It’ll be a challenge. We’ll continue to push Prius and Prius family, but if it ends up that demand is less than the sales forecast, that may be adjusted,” said Toyota’s North American CEO, Jim Lentz in an interview in New York earlier today.
There are around 2 million Toyota hybrid owners in the US, with many of those customers purchasing newer hybrids. Lentz also commented that the recent Prius sales slowdown isn’t a result of Ford Motor Co.’s push to expand its own hybrid sales.