Sales of Toyota's environmentally friendly range of hybrid vehicles outstrip those of all other makes and models in North America's biggest single car market -- California.
Over 25 % of all Toyota Prius-badged cars sold in the US are sold in California. The Prius is also Japan's most popular car, holding the top spot in its country of origin for four years in a row. Photo:AFP
Altogether, sales of the Prius Liftback, Prius V, Prius Plug-in and Prius C accounted for 61,893 new vehicles registered in the state of California over 2012, making the Prius the number-one vehicle badge in California for the first time ever. In 2011, it was the fourth most popular car behind the Honda Civic, Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
"Consumers are drawn to the Prius vehicles because of the brand's focus on efficiency," said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. "All four distinct Prius models offer outstanding fuel economy."
The Prius has proven popular in the Golden State for two reasons. Firstly, California's championing of alternative fuel cars as a means of addressing the state's air pollution problems has offered drivers an incentive to consider a hybrid or a plug-in electric vehicle over more conventional cars. Something that is further compounded by the fact that California also has the highest fuel prices of any state in the US.
The second reason is that unlike many US states, Californians have actively embraced cars from Asia, often at the expense of US-built cars. California has a large Asian population and when vehicles from Honda and Toyota first started shipping to the US, they arrived in California.
The country's largest single car market, California accounts for 10-11 percent of the entire US car market which in 2012 totalled 15.32 million new vehicle registrations.