Toyota Australia discontinues selling the Prius hybrid after 21 years

Melody Labinsky
By Melody Labinsky
May 11 2022 - 6:00am
Trailblazer: The Toyota Prius paved the way for the company's market-leading electrified powertrain technology.

The world's first mass-produced hybrid car will no longer be sold in Australia.

Toyota released its petrol-electric hybrid vehicle, the Prius, in 1997. It became the second hybrid to hit the Australian market when it launched in 2001.

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Toyota Australia sales, marketing and franchise operations vice-president Sean Hanley said the legacy of the Prius would be carried on by other low-emission Toyota hybrids.

"When we launched the Prius in October 2001, it was difficult to predict the enormous impact that Toyota hybrids would eventually have on the Australian automotive landscape," Mr Hanley said.

"In 2001, we sold just a handful of Prius cars, taking until mid-2018 to reach 100,000 Toyota hybrid electric vehicle sales and surpassing the 200,000 sales mark in 2021."

Across its three models, more than 35,000 Prius' have been sold in Australia over the past 21 years.

When it first launched the Prius had a 1.5-litre hybrid powertrain producing 53kW/115Nm, teamed to a 33kW electric motor.

Second and third generation vehicles were launched globally in 2003 and 2009, respectively.

The Prius C and Prius V models followed in 2012 and the fourth generation of the vehicle was released in 2016.

The vehicle laid the foundation for Toyota's market-leading electrified powertrain technology, resulting in a record 65,491 electrified vehicles sold in 2021.

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Mr Hanley said the Prius blazed a trail by offering Australian motorists a more efficient and low-emissions motoring experience - traits that have resonated with buyers more and more over time.

However, he said hybrid electric vehicle technology, in terms of market acceptance, was not an overnight success.

"It has taken more than twenty years, but it still forms an important part of Toyota's electrification strategy," Mr Hanley said.

"It recognises practicality, performance and affordability while reducing the CO2 footprint of our vehicles.

"It enables Australian customers to have access to a technology that plays an important role in not leaving anyone behind, as we forge a future towards carbon neutral mobility."

Toyota has no plans to discontinue its other hybrid-electric vehicles - the Corolla, Camry, RAV4, Kluger, C-HR, Yaris and Yaris Cross.

Melody Labinsky

Melody Labinsky

National machinery and agtech writer

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