In a year where hybrid cars surged to all-time highs, the original hybrid – the Toyota Prius – sold only 95 units.
That's despite hybrids becoming increasingly hot property for Australian buyers in recent months.
In 2020, Aussies purchased 60,417 hybrid vehicles (up from 31,191 the year prior), meaning the standard Prius represented only a 0.15 per cent slice of that pie.
If you add in sales of the Prius' compact-car and wagon variations – the Prius V and the now-discontinued Prius C – that number looks slightly more respectable, with the V adding 272 sales and the C adding 83, amounting to a total of just 450 Prius cars sold in the calendar year.
Still, that figure pales in comparison to Australia's leading hybrid, the Toyota RAV4, which topped the national sales charts for the first time in history in August 2020, and sold a total of 26,400 units last year, representing 43 per cent of all local hybrid sales.
The Prius' fall from favour has been gradual over the last decade, but in its heyday it was the hottest hybrid on the block – commanding 3413 sales in 2008, or roughly 67 per cent of total hybrid sales in that year.
So why is arguably the country's most recognisable and longest-serving hybrid battling to stay relevant?
When it launched in 2001, the Prius was only the second hybrid available in the Australian new-car market after the Honda Insight, selling a respectable 137 units in its first year.
But these days, while the Prius remains one of the more affordable hybrid options in Australia – kicking off from $38,365 before on-road costs in base-spec form – its field of competition has expanded dramatically.
Clear and convincing direct competitors have emerged, such as the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid and Honda Accord hybrid, the former of which offers a slightly lower entry price of $35,140 before on-road costs.
Additionally, of course, smaller hatchbacks have declined in popularity amongst buyers who prefer SUV body types, allowing models like the RAV4 to take precedence.
While overseas markets have gained the option of a plug-in Prius in the form of the Prius Prime, that variant is yet to make its way to Australia.
When we asked Toyota Australia about the potential for this car to be made available domestically, a spokesperson said: "Our parent company is continuing to develop a range of electrified vehicles – Hybrid, PHEV, FCEV and BEV. As vehicles become available globally, we will determine their suitability for our market. Toyota Australia has no announcements to make today".
But while there may be no plans to expand the line-up further, there aren't any plans to reduce it further after production of the Prius C ended in April 2020 to make way for the Yaris Hybrid.
In other words, the Prius V is safe for now.
"The Prius V will continue to be part of Toyota’s model line-up for the foreseeable future. We have nothing to announce at this point in time," a spokesperson told CarAdvice.
Regardless of what happens with the Prius in the future, it's arguable its fiercest competition comes from within Toyota's own stable – the brand sold a record 54,335 hybrids in 2020, almost single handedly propelling electrified cars to more than five per cent of the national market for the first time.