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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
UPDATED WITH OCT 2012 SALES NUMBERS.

I've seen it mentioned how the Volt is doing versus the Prius during the same period, but I never saw the numbers. So I've compiled them. The data is in the attached spreadsheet, along with the links to the source data.

These are USA sales specific. I show the Prius started sales in July 2000 and the Volt in Dec 2010. I call this "First Month". The first 12 months of sales are "First Year". Then we have months 14 through 23 (October 2012 Volt numbers included).

SPOILER ALERT: The Volt now has monthly sales exceeding the Prius at the same period in its sales history.

Life-to-Date
Volt: 27306
Prius: 228989

If Volt sales continue even at the same rate, the Volt will overtake the Prius in total unit sales over the same timeframe within about 3-4 months. Also interesting is that the Volt actually surpassed the Prius' sales rate back in March on a like-for-like basis. You can see how it's now on an accelerated path well above what the Prius did. July appears to have been the breakout month where things really started to take off.



Spreadsheet is here.
 

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What would happen if you compared first year sales in the respective home markets, and by year worldwide instead of USA specific?
 

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Accodring to the Wiki, the Prius US sales were as follows for the first 4 years. The Volt's 2012 total could outsell prius' 2003, it's 4th year in US. And remember, the Prius came out in Japan in 1997, so it had a history to help sales in US when it was introduced here. A running start so to speak. Over 30k sold before it hit the shores of the US.

2000 5.6k
2001 15.6k
2002 20.1k
2003 24.6k
 

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These numbers are quite interesting, and the sales growth patterns are very parallel. One factor that is going to make a major difference, however, is that the Prius didn't have real competition. The Volt does. The next few years should be fun.
 

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Accodring to the Wiki, the Prius US sales were as follows for the first 4 years. The Volt's 2012 total could outsell prius' 2003, it's 4th year in US. And remember, the Prius came out in Japan in 1997, so it had a history to help sales in US when it was introduced here. A running start so to speak. Over 30k sold before it hit the shores of the US.

2000 5.6k
2001 15.6k
2002 20.1k
2003 24.6k
- Hybrid technology concept is proven
- Batteries are new, expensive and life is uncertain.

Volt's released in an atmosphere where the hybrid tech is proven and more advanced, but still has expensive, unproven batteries so a comparison with Gen 1 is much more reasonable than Gen 0.
 

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These numbers are quite interesting, and the sales growth patterns are very parallel. One factor that is going to make a major difference, however, is that the Prius didn't have real competition. The Volt does. The next few years should be fun.
The Prius had a different kind of competition: cheap gas.
 

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I predict even greater increases in Volt sales in the near future. While the Prius had excellent fuel economy, it had very little else.

The Volt gives unbelievable economy and low maintenance, coupled with excellent handling, decent performance, and a more high tech look and feel.

Do you remember all the rumors over the years of high economy, 100 mpg cars, that were supposedly squelched by big oil and the car companies? Well, guess what? They are here, and GM is making them NOW! You can buy or lease one NOW.

As the word gets out just how amazing these Voltec cars are, even the naysayers will not be able to stifle its' sales.

Geez, I sound like a fan-boy.... :)

But, the truth is that the Volt and its' siblings will eventually replace the majority of conventional ICE cars, it is SO superior to them it HAS to happen.
 

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The Prius had a different kind of competition: cheap gas.
Off and on, sure, but the problem with gasoline prices were the volatility, even when the Prius was first selling. I remember gas being $0.90 a gallon one year and $2.00 a gallon the next. Most people I knew complained about the shift in price more so than anything else. They didn't really start complaining about the overall price of gas until it consistently hit $4.00 a gallon.
 

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The Prius did have competition - The Honda Insight.
 

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Comparisons against the first gen Prius are sort of moot. The Prius really didn't take off till the far superior gen II was released. When people say "look how successful the Prius has been," they mean the design used from 2003 on, and you need to start your comparisons then.

Prius sales INCREASED from 2003 to 2004 more than the entirety of all Volt sales.

2000: 5,562
2001: 15,556
2002: 20,119
2003: 24,600 <--- new model released
2004: 53,991 <--- sales skyrocket
2005: 107,897
2006: 106,971
2007: 181,221
 

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interesting facts and comparison, thanks to the OP for the work.

I would like to point some variables that may be factor, but it doesn't change my believe the volt will prevail and dominate:

* prius didn't have much of a competition in the first year (as someone else pointed out).

* volt can be competing with prius cars where at one point Prius may be flat-lined...the volt competition will pull a negative trend on the Prius where a potential buyer may choose a Volt.

* the volt's incentives is substantially larger than the competing Prius--making a stronger negative pull on the Prius.

* will there be enough volt's to get the Tipping Point of consumers before the incentives all run out?

* Iran's president gets exponentially crazier each year! Thus, affecting gas prices.

-KyleH
 

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* the volt's incentives is substantially larger than the competing Prius--making a stronger negative pull on the Prius.
It's generally regarded that the Gen 1 Prius was sold below cost, with Toyota, in a sense, providing the large incentives through pricing.

* will there be enough volt's to get the Tipping Point of consumers before the incentives all run out?
200,000 from each manufacturer. It's more a matter of question of whether the batteries will get cheap enough by the time the incentives run out.

* Iran's president gets exponentially crazier each year! Thus, affecting gas prices.
He's either crazy or showing just how crazy he has to act to keep the crazy Mullahs happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Comparisons against the first gen Prius are sort of moot. The Prius really didn't take off till the far superior gen II was released. When people say "look how successful the Prius has been," they mean the design used from 2003 on, and you need to start your comparisons then.
It depends entirely what you're trying to analyze. If we go with your premise, then it's still an "unknown" because we don't know what a Gen 2 Volt will do in the market.

Of course you can pick random moments in the history of sales and declare that is the "right" time for comparison. Everyone is free to read whatever they want into the numbers. That's why I linked to the Excel file. The only thing the graph is showing is how many Volts and Priuses sold in the first 22 months on sale in the USA car market. No other factors were introduced or considered.

By that simple measure, the Volt is doing fine.
 

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The Prius did have competition - The Honda Insight.
I would hardly consider the first generation Insight as competition for the Prius, though it was superior as a commuter car in almost every measurable way. It simply wasn't a car that most people could live with. Despite the Prius's anemic performance and cheap interior/amenities, it could still seat five people and carry an appreciable amount of cargo. The Insight really was purely a commuter car and nothing more.
 

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I took a serious look at buying the first generation Prius about a year after it came out. And also looked at choices from Honda. In addition to the two passenger Insight, Honda had another hybrid that was quite comparable to the Prius. Believe it was also a four door. At the time, I thought the Honda was a somewhat better family sedan. Slightly lower gas mileage. But better overall physical design. I believe the back seat could fold down on the Honda, but not the Prius. In the end I decided to wait rather than to buy either car.

To me, Prius demonstrated proof of concept of the dual engine system in their first generation car. And got the total car design right in the second generation. And at that point pulled away from Honda.

I did eventually buy a second generation Prius. Sold it when I bought the Volt.
 

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... I believe the back seat could fold down on the Honda, but not the Prius. ...
I have not seen an early Honda Civic Hybrid, but that is my main complaint about our 2007 version, the back seat is fixed due to the batteries being in that location. High center of gravity and terrible handling (plus no Pass-Through) are the result of that location...

Still the Civic gets the majority of our long distance miles these days, aside from when FMM kicks in on the Volt.
 
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