Toyota Pulls the Plug on Prius Production

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Automotive Editor

Armaan Almeida was an Automotive Editor who produced buying guides and sneak previews, in addition to publishing daily news stories and tracking monthly deals, incentives and pricing trends from Toyota, Nissan and Lexus.

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, Automotive Editor - May 6, 2015

New Plug-in replacement will arrive in 2016, but will it be worth the wait?

Toyota will officially end production of the current generation Prius Plug-In next month to make way for a newer and better model in 2016 which will compete with the redesigned 2016 Chevy Volt. But if you're in the market to nab one of the last carpool-sticker clad Plug-In models, we suggest you take a hard look at buying now versus waiting.

Time Running Out For Carpool Stickers »

New Model Will Get Upgrades

Like the Volt, the new 2016/2017 Prius Plug-In will be better than the current model, and will get a better battery pack, improved styling and better overall fuel economy.

The catch is that as it stands right now, not much else is known about the new Prius Plug-In. No concrete release date has been announced and all that Toyota has said thus far is that the new generation model will be better.

That being said, we'll try and offer some measured speculation. The new Prius Plug-In will likely feature a higher driving range than the current model's paltry 11 miles. The best news is that it will reportedly handle much better and will be further differentiated with distinctive styling when compared to the conventional 2016 Toyota Prius.

2015 Plug-In Buying Guide »

Production Gap

That leaves significant room for doubt--not for the actual release, but the big production gap between the current model and the next model.

As it stands right now, there is currently a three month supply for the Plug-in model, or, roughly 1,100 models scattered across dealer lots. Toyota sold 428 Plug-ins last month and averaged 1,105 Plug-Ins sold per month in 2014 with sales peaking in May of 2014 as Toyota dealerships sold a record 2,692 Plug-Ins as fuel prices averaged $3.75/gallon.

Plug-In Sales vs. Fuel Prices

Avg. Gas Price Prius Plug-In Chevy Volt
January 2014 $3.39 803 918
February 2014 $3.43 1,041 1,210
March 2014 $3.61 1,452 1,478
April 2014 $3.74 1,741 1,548
May 2014 $3.75 2,692 1,684
June 2014 $3.77 1,571 1,777
July 2014 $3.69 1,371 2,020
August 2014 $3.57 818 2,511
September 2014 $3.48 353 1,394
October 2014 $3.26 479 1,439
November 2014 $3.00 451 1,336
December 2014 $2.63 492 1,490
January 2015 $2.21 401 542
February 2015 $2.30 397 693
March 2015 $2.55 473 639
April 2015 $2.56 428 905

Fuel Price Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Sales Number Source: GoodCarBadCar.net

Should you pull the trigger? The answer is yes. Current incentives are the strongest we've seen yet and when combined with fact that there will inevitably be gap between the 2015 Prius Plug-In and the future 2016/2017 model, those who are in the market for one should plan on buying sooner versus later.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Plug-in and Volt »

Don't Wait

If you're thinking about waiting in hopes of getting a better deal, our advice is simple: don't bet on it. In the majority of cases we've seen, when production for a particular model ends, incentives rarely improve, especially when we're talking Toyota [see: Venza, FJ Cruiser].

Moreover, one of the main reasons consumers select Plug-Ins is because they are eligible for single-occupant carpool/HOV access. An additional 15,000 carpool stickers were made available in California, but those will soon run out.

The only case we can see for waiting is that prospective buyers might want to wait for reviews of the highly-anticipated 2016 Chevy Volt, which goes on sale this Fall at a starting price of $34k.

, Automotive Editor

Armaan Almeida was an Automotive Editor who produced buying guides and sneak previews, in addition to publishing daily news stories and tracking monthly deals, incentives and pricing trends from Toyota, Nissan and Lexus.

Follow On: Google+ | Website