Despite criticism from some that green vehicles simply are not a viable option for helping America to become greener and less dependent on gasoline, Toyota in the United States is demonstrating that U.S. drivers are saying otherwise – its green Prius hybrid has given the Japanese company three of the top 10 models in 2012 so far.
The hybrid Prius during the first quarter of 2012 became a popular buy among Americans and now is the third best-selling car across the globe.
“It proves Prius wasn’t a fluke, that there’s a long-term market for hybrids,” said President Eric Noble of the Car Lab, a California-based automotive consultancy.
Toyota’s success in the green vehicle shows that more Americans are serious about saving on fluctuating gas costs and Japanese consumers wish to take advantage of incentives offered by the company. For instance, tax breaks and rebates in Japan actually have saved vehicle buyers at least $2,500 on the purchase of their hybrid vehicles (the price of the hybrid is about $25,000 in the United States).
The sales of the Prius are behind only those of the Corolla from Toyota and the Focus from Ford. The number of Prius vehicles that have been sold since 2000 have reached 1.18 million cars, according to Bloomberg data. The United States actually is the biggest market for the Prius hybrid, with sales skyrocketing by 42 percent during the first quarter of 2012 and an even higher 56 percent by the end of the first third of the year.
The fact that the Prius is a green vehicle also helps its cause as more Americans strive to go green and do their part to help the environment. Perhaps this will be enough to keep sales of the Prius strong this summer even as gas prices are expected to drop more than initially anticipated. Gas prices currently average about $3.59 per gallon.
“Hybrid sales won’t truly take off in the US until we get to $5 gas and it stays,” said John Wolkonowicz, a Massachusetts automotive history analyst.
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