Low gas prices may hurt Prius sales

April 22, 2013 12:00 AM

The Toyota Prius has consistently been one of the top performers in the world of eco-friendly vehicles. Its excellent fuel economy helped propel it to a record year in 2012, and the automaker had high hopes that the strong sales would continue into 2013. As gas prices across the U.S. continue to drop, however, Toyota could see Prius sales be impacted in a negative way. 

According to Motor Trend, gas prices are already almost 10 percent lower than they were a year ago, and they should keep dropping as the year goes on. These lower prices are causing drivers to shop around for a variety of cars and focus less on fuel economy than they have in the past few years. Instead of putting all of their attention on mileage, many motorists are instead turning to things like affordable car repair and maintenance. 

Originally, Toyota had hoped to sell more than 250,000 Prius models this year. With the cost of fuel falling, it will be hard to reach that lofty number, The Detroit Free Press reports. 

"It'll be a challenge," Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, told Bloomberg. "We'll continue to push Prius and Prius family, but if it ends up that demand is less than the sales forecast, that may be adjusted." 

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