People Wouldn't Have Believed You a Few Years Ago
The stars were aligned for the Prius in Japan: A new model, rising fuel prices, and new government incentives. The Prius has been the #1 car in Japan for three months in a row, and there's a 10-month waiting list according to some reports, with production maxed out because there aren't enough battery packs to make more (Panasonic EV Energy makes 500,000 a year).
During July 2009, 27,712 Prius hybrids were sold in Japan ("almost quadruple the 7,058 units sold in July 2008," according to numbers from the Japan Automotive Dealers Association). For the first seven months of the year, Prius sales in Japan total 79,122 units.
From Green Car Congress:
The Fit was a distant second to Prius in July, with 17,003 units sold, followed by the Toyota Vitz (12,366 units) and the Honda Insight (10,210 units).
It might not raise that many eyebrows now because it happened gradually enough that we got used to it, but if a few years ago you had told people that a hybrid vehicle would be a best-seller, they probably wouldn't have believed you.
And while familiarity breeds contempt, we should remember that even if the Prius is still a gasoline car, it's a decent step forward: AT-PZEV tailpipe emissions (which means SULEV + zero evaporative emissions from the fuel system) and 50 MPG EPA make it cleaner than almost everything on the market (depends on the country).
You're still better walking, cycling or taking public transit. But if you have to get a car, a Prius is a good choice if you can't wait a few years for plug-in hybrids and electric cars to come to market and drop in price.
Via Green Car Congress
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