Toyota has announced to discontinue the Prius hybrid series in Australia, though production continues for other markets around the world. The Prius paved the way for the electrification of mass-market cars in general, and was arguably one of the most important cars of the last quarter-century.
It’s a sign of the times that the most important hybrid vehicles today are the crossover SUVs. The popularity of pioneers such as the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq has waned in recent years, with their places taken up by hugely-popular high-riding alternatives such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. The hybrid technology of Prius was made available on more mainstream Toyota models such as the Camry, Corolla, C-HR and the Kluger which also resulted in the loss of sales of Prius over the period of time.
Launched in October 2001 (exactly 4 years after being unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show), it was only the second modern hybrid vehicle to be sold in Australia. Since then, the Prius notched up 20,847 units sold in Australia across its four generations. In addition, its Prius C hatchback and Prius V people-mover bumped the figure up to 35,947, although both were killed off in the past two years due to low sales.
Beginning with the original Prius, it took nearly 17 years for Toyota to sell 100,000 hybrid vehicles in Australia, and then just another 4 years to double that number to over 200,000 hybrids with over 65,400 units registered in 2021 alone. For some Toyota models like RAV4 in Australia, the share of hybrid demand exceeds 80%. Without the Prius’ hybrid influence, Toyota would likely not enjoy its majestic reign of the Australian motor industry.
Toyota plans to continue selling hybrid cars in the future despite the emerging popularity of electric vehicles, however the Japanese automaker is also heavily investing in EVs and hydrogen fuel-cell technology to ensure it has a stake in each. The current line-up of Toyota’s hybrid vehicles in Australia includes the Corolla, Camry, RAV4, Kluger, C-HR, Yaris and Yaris Cross.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com