Bank of America to Reimburse Employees $3K for Hybrids
Euro Environmental Organizations Warn on Biofuels

Prius Passes 500,000 Sales Mark Worldwide

Prius Sales through 2005. Click to enlarge.

Worldwide cumulative sales of the Toyota Prius have passed the half-million mark, with 504,700 units having been sold by the end of April this year, according to Toyota. Overall cumulative worldwide sales of all Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles passed the 600,000 mark at the end of March this year.

Toyota launched the Prius in 1997 in Japan and began selling it in North America and Europe in 2000. Toyota introduced the second-generation Prius, equipped with the Toyota Hybrid System II, in 2003 with an emphasis on delivering both eco-friendliness and driving performance.

Sales and distribution Jan-Apr 2006.

The Prius is now being made outside Japan for the first time, with production for the Chinese market starting in Changchun, China in December.

Toyota recently began selling the Camry Hybrid, which has shown very strong sales performance in the US, and the Lexus GS450h. The company plans to continue to widen its hybrid vehicle lineup.


allen zheng

Wow, nice sales, and it is turning a profit as well. Two factor to consider the future of the Prius. One is future competion, internal, and external (the hybrid Camary, and GM's hybrid systems). The other is something coming from left field, like high efficiency (45-50% efficient) clean diesels, possibly with automated dual clutch manuals and some sort of regenerative ability (+25-50%).


Wow, nice sales, and it is turning a profit as well.

Is it profitable? We've heard rumors for years that the Prius may or may not be profitable... got any sources?

Also, check out what happened in tUSA and Japan in 2004 and 2005. Both nations were increasing sales and had very similar sales in 2004. Japan's sales sunk about 30%, whereas sales in tUSA nearly doubled. What happened?


Yeah, rumors from Detroit.


If you build it - they will come.


stomv- Sales in Japan of all cars were less in 2005 (not as bad though). I believe the "kei" cars are the only ones which had any growth last year in Japan. Of course those cars, with 660cc 60hp engines, would not survive in the US. Americans are too fat and like to drive too fast (on average) for such a small, low powered vehicle.


IF they were really losing money on each car, would they have opened up a second production line?
If they were really selling at a loss, the Big Three (Stooges) would have made a complaint of dumping to the government.
GM needs to get rid of the bean counters as CEO's and bring in someone that knows how to build a car. MY only direct knowledge of GM cars is at the car rental places. You ask for a full size car and you get a Monte Carlo with a wing on the trunk...
GM deserves to die, and you can blame Congressman Dingell who has been the mouthpiece for them for over 50 years. If they had not had so much protection, they might have had to build good cars. They could do it if they gave the engineers freedom. Roger Smith and Bob Stemple was going to let the EV-1 be a success, all the Bean counter since decided to fight the Carb and join the other car companies in killing the EV's.
Only Toyota ever sold a BEV, one went for 67,000 last week on ebay (It had new batteries). The average price they have been selling for is about the original list price of 42,000.
Meanwhile when not arresting customers,or ruining credit reports of people returning leased cars due to excess wear or paint dings(on cars they then crushed) they badmouth Hybrids.


Even if Toyota was not making a profit on the Prius, they are super profitable overall. This cannot be said for an auto company that needs not be mentioned. Still think GM should consider being a division or subsidiary of Toyota.

Toyota is building Prii in China. Hmm. Wonder if that is part of their future profitability plans and plans to make the hybrid components at least half as expensive as they are now.


Oil prices will collapse, still this year.
And then, nobody will even remember a PRIUS. The PRIUS will end the same life as "the ugly Pacer from AMC" in 1978.


I will never buy a GM product

Harvey D.

Toyota makes the most hybrids (+ quality cars) and is the most profitable car manufacturer in the world. With hybrid components made in China by end of 2006, Toyota's Hybrid profitability will go up, price will come down and sales will go up. Doubt if GM can catch up, certainly not in the short term.

With sales of ICE vehicles going up by 25% to 40% a year in China and India, and USA car makers building more VUS gas guzzlers, major OIL price drop is NOT for tomorrow or for another 2 1/2 year.


The latest data is that oil consumption in the U.S. is higher than last year. American consumers are not responding to higher prices except for the fact that they are bitching about them. Oil production is flat. China continues its strong increase in demand. Given these circumstances, I find it hard to believe that oil prices will collapse.

I would appreciate an analysis showing whey oil prices are headed for a collapse. If sufficiently convincing, I will gladly short the oil market.

Michael G. Richard

I remember Toyota saying they were making money on the Prius, but I don't remember the source.. Anybody?

hampden wireless

Toyota announced in 2004 they were 'mildly profitable' on the Prius. I have no link. I think with them getting much larger premiums on hybrids by selling so many of them 'loaded' they have made quite a bit of money. I think Toyota dealers have made a KILLING. To have a car that you can sell for list or over is quite a bonanza. Very roughly its one billion dollars of markup for the dealers.

Shaun Williams

500,000 Prius sold at a loss, yeah right! Xenophobic hogwash.

It IS actually possible for a non-US country to produce at technologically superior vehicle at a profit you know.

Bike Commuter Dude

I would have to say, that the chances for an oil price reduction of any kind are Slim and none...
...and Slim just left town.

Furthermore, the Japanese tend to use different business methodology. Just in time delivery, autoreplenishment, and 50-100 year business plans are the norm. If at any point the Prius was not profitable, that deficit has since been eradicated by economies of scale (If you buy more ______, then it costs less per piece). They already have a hydrogen FCV "Skateboard" style chassis in development (the FINE-S; FINE-N). They are just following a path that has been chosen MANY years ago. Let there be no mistakes, it is we who are the dummies.
p.s. ride a bike instead

richard schumacher

A collapse in oil prices? It is to laugh. Hurricane season has just begun; and after 1.2 billion Chinese have bought their fill of oil, there's one billion Indians following hard behind them.


hey Mike, computer question!
how did you get the pie chart to show all three: label, actual number, and percent? I have found a way to do label and percent, but don't see an option in excel to have it print the actual number as well.


Chart-> Chart Options
Select the Data Labels tab
Select Category name, Value and Percentage.

That's it. (That's in Excel 2003...I can't remember if the capability was there or not in earlier versions...)

Bud Johns

Ok, people... Toyota isn't into the money losing buisness, for openers. They DID spend a gozillion dollars and about 10 years of intensive research to come up with the second gen Prius, so the people who ask is it profitable may be referring to that. The point is, Toyota has developed a truly amazing hybrid system, and they are incorporating it into thier entire line. For the month of May, and listen up, the Camry Hybrid accounted for 1/3 of Camry sales! And it would be more, except for the same reason as the Prius, they can't punch them out fast enough!! I've owned a Prius since Jan 04 and you need to own one to love it....and love it you will, unless you are mentally challenged.


^ Actually, you're wrong. In May, US sales of the Camry were about 43,000. Of those sales, only about 3,000 were of the Camry Hybrid. But yes, the Camry Hybrid and the Prius are both limited by production capacity right now.


The average human dumps 1 tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, the average american dumps 25 tonnes! dont you guys think you should forget your gas guzzlers and go green, please for the sake of civilisation

Jack Rosebro

Toyota first announced that the Prius was profitable in late 2001, when the first-generation North American market Prius (second-generation overall) was still fairly new to the US.

Among other sources, the Los Angeles Times covered this on December 19, 2001, with an article entitled "Toyota Says It's Now Turning a Profit on the Hybrid Prius."

Rich Wilson

I own a Toyota Corolla and get 35 MPH overall mileage, primarily city driving. I wanted a Prius but was told I'd have to wait 13 months for one plus plunk down $500 to reserve a spot on the waiting list. I looked at the Camry the other day. The dealer only had one. Same thing - a waiting list. But now the dealer tacked on a $1995 premium over the MSRP. With a situation like this, I can't believe the Toyota folks are not making lots of money if you play their game. For now I'll console myself with a Corolla.


The rumor is that it actually costs Toyota around $35k to build a Prius. If this is including the massive R&D it took to develop it, I don't know.

However, if the $35k figure is accurate, it could help explain why a fully-loaded Prius (with an outrageously priced top-of-the-line option package) approaches an MSRP of $30k.

As to how/why Toyota can afford to build/sell cars at a loss, it's likely an 'economy of scale' thing. Toyota is likely viewing hybrid sales on a much longer range plan. While there's a chance they may be losing lots of money on the Prius now, Toyota has the resources to afford it, and is planning on recouping the loss at some point in the future, likely by completely dominating the market and using the proven technology in other vehicles where the profit margin is more clear-cut (like in the Camry Hybrid).

The reason Detroit hasn't been screaming about Toyota 'dumping' hybrids is probably because they never considered them a serious sales threat. Remember, Detroit's cash-cow is the big, gas-guzzling SUV. If Toyota were selling Land Cruisers at a loss and cutting into Tahoe sales, they might have bitched.

But the Prius? Until the price of gas began to rise dramatically (and stay that way), Detroit could care less if Toyota (or anyone else) were 'dumping' hybrids on the US market.


Yes, Toyota IS losing money on the Prius. They finally admitted it in Businessweek.

This doesn't mean Toyota is a bad company, far from it. But let's not be so chauvinistic about them that we're blind to the facts.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)