New Prius must bring back Toyota’s success in the Netherlands | En route
Toyota has discovered a new generation of the Prius. The hybrid made a name for itself as a pioneer around the turn of the century, but has probably fallen out of favor with the Dutch car buyer in recent years.
More than half a year the new Toyota Prius in the showrooms. Its design is much more exciting than the current model. In addition, the new generation says goodbye to the plugless hybrid. It is only available as a plug-in hybrid in Europe. So you can charge it yourself, which gives it an unprecedented electric range of 75 kilometers.
The Toyota Prius has had a mixed success in the Netherlands so far. It has been available here every year since 2000 and in some years hardly sold, but also had two significant sales peaks.
That happened at the beginning of this millennium with the first generation Prius, a hybrid sedan that was delivered in Japan from 1997. No automaker believed in the concept of combining a gasoline engine with an electric motor, but Toyota did. Due to the hybrid concept that causes reduced low fuel consumption and distributed Prius, there are also much less polluted exhaust gases.
Second generation brought it great success
The second generation definitively put the Prius model name on the map. That intervention of the characteristic liftback body with a reasonably flat, two-part rear window: an element that was used again in the third and fourth generations.
With its hatchback shape, the second Prius was a more practical car than the sedan the first was. And that was not the only improvement. Toyota had further developed its hybrid technology, making the second Prius a lot more fuel efficient than the first. The design was also received with more enthusiasm by the buyers.
Toyota personally killed the Prius.
Tax benefit played into the hands of Prius
In 2004, Toyota Netherlands registered more than a thousand Priuses. A year later there were even more than 2,700. From 2008, the Prius became even more popular in the Netherlands. That was the year in which lower addition percentages were introduced for economical cars, including the Prius, for business drivers.
There was a real run on cars with low (theoretical) consumption and the supply of economical petrol cars was still small. Toyota sold a total of more than 22,000 units of the Prius in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The sales numbers virtually fell from 7,858 to 3,357 from 2010 to 2011, but due to repeated revised addition rules for 2012 and the introduction of the first plug-in hybrid variant, an even better place took place in that year. But it turned out to be short-lived. In 2013, the second generation Toyota Auris approached and it became – especially as a station wagon – very popular. Toyota already sold more Aurissen in 2015 than the 8,326 copies of the Prius in its peak year.
In addition, hybrids benefited from less tax benefits from 2014. The death knell finally came from within. The Toyota Auris makes the Prius obsolete. It had a less daring design, was much more practical as a station wagon and also turned out to be more or less even economical.
In 2016, the first full year of the fourth generation Prius on the market, Toyota sold 663 more. The years after that were really over – and in recent years completely. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, Toyota sold less than a hundred copies per year in the Netherlands, while its relative Corolla Hybrid was the best deed. As a result, an important competitor came from its own home for a while and Toyota seemed to kill the Prius single-handedly.
New generation only comes as a plug-in hybrid
The new, fifth-generation Prius is currently only available as a plug-in hybrid. The question is how he can become successful. For business drivers, a fully electric car provides more tax benefits, at least up to and including 2025.
However, plug-in hybrids – and also for private individuals – are subject to a halved motor vehicle tax rate (mrb), because in theory they emit less than 50 grams of CO2 per kilometre. In 2025 you will pay 75 percent of the MRB for a car that emits less than 50 grams of CO2, only full pound from 2026.
In terms of specifications and electric driving range, the new Prius has a lot to offer. With the promised 75 kilometers, it comes quite far on power and it also has a considerable engine power of 200 hp. Most of his main ones make do with less. It is not even waiting for the price tag that Toyota hangs on the fifth generation. If all goes well, this car could be an interesting intermediate step for consumers before they definitively switch to fully electric driving.
The – from left to right – the first four generations of the Toyota Prius.
From 2019, Toyota will deliver this Prius: the facelift of the fourth generation.