Toyota has hit a landmark sales figure with its Prius model lineup reaching the three million mark in global sales. It wasn’t really that long ago that the Prius hit the one million mark – it was in 2008 even though the product had been originally launched in 1997 in Japan. Part of the sales growth tripling within five years has come from expanding the Prius family lineup – the Plug-in Hybrid version, a larger hybrid (Prius V) and a smaller one (Prius C) at different price ranges than the original Prius hatchback.
The Prius hatchback is now in its third generation edition. Since the first generation hit the market, Toyota says its reduced the cost of the hybrid drivetrain by two-thirds and also has improved its US EPA-estimated ratings for combined city/highway fuel economy by nearly 22%. Toyota has applied for 1,261 patents related to the third-generation Prius. The newest version has benefited from stop-start technology and regenerative braking to increase its fuel efficiency.
Resale values haven’t been as strong lately as years ago, and some of this may have to do with the flood of hybrid models on the market now from various automakers. Kelley Blue Book recently reported that for the 2010 model year Prius, the price fell 15% over the past three months – from $18,600 to $15,800. Kelley Blue Book and other analysts also think that gasoline prices haven’t spiked up enough lately for hybrids to be as strong as they can be on the resale market.