Monday, May 07, 2012

Toyota's Prius Plug-In sits atop U.S. pluggable vehicle sales in April 2012

Toyota's Prius Plug-In, which only recently began reaching the hands of owners who had pre-ordered Toyota's first plug-in hybrid as far back as last November, has already taken over first place among pluggable vehicles, beating both Chevrolet's Volt and the Nissan Leaf in April sales.

Toyota sold 1,654 Prius Plug-Ins in April. That compares to the Chevrolet Volt, which sold 1,462 units, and the Nissan Leaf, which sold 370 units.  Despite the Volt's longer all-electric range, the Prius Plug-In does quite well over a short distance (up to 15 miles), when fully charged, and takes only 3 hours to charge on 120 volts.

A somewhat humorous shot of a Prius dash showing 999 MPG when driving fully charged right after a fill-up is shown above.

In addition to the Plug-In news, the Prius family recorded its best ever April with sales of 25,168 units, increasing 126.9 percent year-over-year. Notably, last April was the first month after the huge Sendai earthquake in Japan, and at least part of that increase could be due to that natural disaster, one that impacted virtually all of the businesses in Japan last year.

March 2012 set a record for the Prius family. Toyota sold 28,711 Prius hybrids overall in March, the highest total for a month since the first Prius model was introduced in America in 2000.

Including the luxury Lexus brand, Toyota sold 32,593 hybrids in April. 2,467 of those were Lexus models, while 30,126 of them wore the Toyota badge.

In 2011, Toyota said it expected to sell 16,000-17,000 Prius Plug-In models in 2012. If 1,654 were to be a consistent, monthly number, the company would be right on track, with 16,540 sold (excluding January and February, as the first Plug-Ins started to hit the United States very late in February).

There are others besides the big three of pluggable autos, including Mitsubishi, which reported 79 sales of its Mitsubishi i minicar, its best monthly number to date, bringing the total for 2012 to 215 (and there were another 80 sold late last year).

As far as Ford Focus Electric sales, that hasn't been reported, as yet. The company sold 12 of the cars in December and January - combined - but sold none in February or March.

Both Fisker Automotive and Coda Automotive declined to comment on sales of their plug-in vehicles. Tesla is set to release the Tesla Model S, with a 160 mile range when fully charged, no later than July of this year, and it will be interesting to see how the longer-ranged, and more expensive sedan will impact the plug-in market.

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