The Toyota Prius is the reigning king of the hybrid market. A year ago, the car’s sales lead over every other hybrid model was so massive that you almost had to wonder why other manufacturers even bothered trying to compete. But things might be starting to change. As hybrids become more and more numerous, the Prius is now less an environmentalist’s must-have status symbol, and is fast becoming just like any other hybrid. Evidence of this seen in Ford’s November sales figures, which was the automaker’s best-ever month for hybrid sales.
When Toyota rolled out the Prius plug-in and Prius V models, it was assumed by many that name recognition would give them a natural advantage over competitors. But November saw Ford’s C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid combined sales topping those of the Prius V and Prius plug-in combined. The margin wasn’t huge, it was 4,848 units for Ford compared to 4,456 for Toyota. But the fact that Ford was able to compete at all with such heavy hitters in the hybrid world is fairly amazing. Ford’s press release mentioned a total of 6,985 hybrid sales, but wisely avoided any mention of how The Fusion Hybrid’s sales stacked up against the standard Prius. The truth there is that Ford sold fewer units of all types of the Fusion combined than Toyota sold of the Prius last month.
It seems that the Prius will probably stay on top of the hybrid heap for some time, but evidence is starting to suggest that consumers are starting to realize that their hybrid options extend beyond just one model.