Thursday, October 10, 2013

Toyota Cuts Pricing on their Prius Plug Ins!

Recently Toyota made two moves and their intent is rather obvious.  First they eliminated incentives for out of state buyers for the RAV 4 EV. Then they cut prices on the Prius Plug in to a level that is just  a few thousand more than the regular Prius.  They also broke up the options on the Advanced Tech Package so its no longer an "all or nothing" option. Something that should have been done from day one.

This is really a thinly veiled move intended to ride that hybrid horse for one more lap. Toyota is still the unquestioned leader in the hybrid industry and still enjoys having the only car at 50+ MPG in the US; a fact that really eats at the heart of every OEM on the planet.  Sure there are a few around that touches that coveted bar occasionally, but trying to match size, comfort, etc at the same time and there is nothing within sight. After 10+ years, it is really embarrassing how far ahead Toyota remains.

So is this a bad thing for the EV industry? Will PiPs take sales from the Volt (maybe...) or LEAF? (doubtful)  In this pond known as the American car market; every action creates a reaction.  A ten cent change in gas prices will either bolster or hamper the large car/SUV market. Ya, thats right! a fricking dime.  Newton and Einstein may have been smart but neither was bright enough to develop the math for that TCO calculation!

But what this will do is create a nagging worry for EV manufacturers. They will go back and take another look at their product roadmaps. Maybe a 30% increase in range in 2 years is not enough. Maybe it has to be 50%?  What is the compensation needed to overcome an "under $30,000 car that has a relatively easy potential to get 75 MPG?

Those are tough answers Nissan, Chevy and others will have to answer to and quickly. I really feel for them but only because I am likely to be the beneficiary!

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