Do Lower Gas Prices Mean Fewer Hybrid Sales?
When gas prices soar, so too do sales of more fuel-efficient vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius. So it would only make sense that hybrid sales would drop off when gas prices were lower, as they are currently, right? Not necessarily; at least, not according to Jim Lentz, the Toyota CEO for North America.
As Lentz explains, Prius drivers are a loyal crowd. Those who have stuck with the brand for years won’t let lower gas prices sway them from ditching the numerous benefits that come from owning a hybrid like the Prius. Firstly, there’s the environmental aspect—regardless of gas prices, hybrid vehicles have lower carbon emissions. Secondly, there are plenty of hybrids that are big enough for families to ride around in comfortably—the Prius v wagon, for example—so drivers won’t necessarily switch to larger cars just because of falling gas prices.
And who can predict where gas prices will go in the next five years, anyway?
In an interview with Ward’s Auto, Lentz commented that sales of the redesigned 2016 Prius are expected to be strong, no matter what the prices at the pump look like. He also thinks that the next-generation Prius will attract hybrid drivers from other models, like the Honda Accord Hybrid and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. And, thanks to technology tested out in Toyota’s TS040 Hybrid Le Mans Racer, the 2016 Prius is expected to be more efficient than ever before.
If you think about it, all this makes sense. The Prius driver is unlikely to sell up and invest in a Ford F-150 just because prices at the pump are lower. After all, hybrid vehicles like the Prius aren’t just about saving money—they’re also about being kind to the planet and making a statement to the world.
News Source: Ward’s Auto