Toyota Prius Now in Top Three in Sales Worldwide TIME com

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Drivers around the purchased nearly a quarter Toyota Priuses in the first of 2012. That makes the the world s third best-selling it firmly establishes the fact this hybrid is not a fluke or a trend.


When the Prius hit the marketplace in 2000, it was a novelty. s early coverage of what was a cutting-edge hybrid vehicle how the cars were anomalies on dominated by enormous, gas-guzzling

The size of the Insight and Prius is a turnoff for consumers, who fear with gargantuan SUVs. I d to use less gas, says Blalock, a Memphis, Tenn. But I can t enjoy saving Mother if I m worrying about getting like a bug.

Nonetheless, the emerged as a hit among a small of drivers. Hollywood A-listers Cameron Diaz, Steven and Larry David were adopters of the Prius. But celebrities are known as the savviest of consumers. and in ways the popularity of the Prius in California only gave fuel to the idea that the car never fly—or rather, the so-called heartland. Toyota sold out its small U.S. run of 12,000 Priuses in 2000.

But that s teeny-tiny compared to, Ford, which sold 70,000 F-Series trucks and Explorers each month year.

Times have Lately, Ford has been one of the bragging about how small engines are —because smaller equate to better fuel today s best-selling SUVs are in size and design to sedans they are to the prototypical SUV circa

And, as Bloomberg reports. the Prius now stands as the world s best-selling car, with vehicles sold in the first of 2012, coming behind the Toyota Corolla (300,800) and Focus (277,000). Prius have been helped by incentives in Japan, as well as a of other factors, including gas prices, increased acceptability and with hybrid technology, and an family of Prius models.

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There are now four Prius sold in the U.S. including the wagon Prius V and the small Prius C. The latter retails under $19,000—which is actually than the cost of a Prius in —and was a big hit when it went on the earlier this year, 1,200 units in the first days it was available. If there has one thing holding back of electric vehicles and hybrids. it s the simple fact that just cost too darn to justify the potential savings in from owning one, so it s to overestimate how important it is for Toyota and automakers to keep MSRPs on these vehicles.

Ultimately, the Prius has succeeded drivers have done the and, with government incentives, the history and projected of gas prices, their own needs in a set of and perhaps even what s for Mother Nature are factored in, the car sense.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can continue the discussion on TIME ’s page and on Twitter at @TIME .

Tuttle @bradrtuttle

Brad covers business and personal for TIME. He lives in Massachusetts his wife and four sons, and teaches journalism at UMass-Amherst .

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