Americans, generally speaking, don’t like hybrids. We ignore them like that day-old plain donut in the break room, which is good enough for consumption only when nothing else is around, or when we’re too frugal to spend money on what we really want. The exception to this rule seems to be Toyota’s Prius hybrid, which has enjoyed a healthy (bordering on rabid) following since the car was launched in 2000. In just eleven years, Toyota has managed to sell 1,000,000 Prius models in the US, and has delivered over 3,000,000 to date worldwide. Since launch, the Prius has consistently been the best-selling hybrid vehicle in the United States, and now accounts for over 60% of hybrid vehicles sold in 2011. The Prius has a brand awareness that other hybrid automakers would kill for.
It’s racked up more than a few awards in the past 11 years, including nine years as “Best Overall Value of the Year” by IntelliChoice, and four years as R.L. Polk’s “Highest Mid-Size Vehicle Owner Loyalty”. Prius drivers tend to hang on to their cars, as over 97% of Prius’ sold in the U.S. are still on the road. More than any other car on the road today, the Prius is responsible for the parallel hybrid revolution currently embraced by thirteen other automakers. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends entirely on your perspective.