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What to expect from the next model year Prius

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Comments

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I don't think that the new Prius is going to compete directly against the Insight II very much, they're directed toward two different demographic segements. The Insight II is a Honda Fit with a $1500 hybrid option. It's a level or two below the Prius in size, amenities, performance and fuel economy.

    But...it should be a huge hit because it will fall right in the sweetest part of the buying public's vision. At $18500 to $20500 it will appeal to a lot of buyers who have passed on the hybrids up until now. I think that it will do more damage to vehicles like the Corolla, Mazda3, Focus, Cobalt and non-hybrid Civic in this price range because it will get a real world 42-43 mpg day-in and day-out. That's well above the 33-ish mpg that those other non-hybrids get. The vehicle is very very tight in back. But I haven't driven one yet and nobody except the reviewers has even seen one.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    Since Honda doesn't offer a hatchback Civic in the U.S. and the Insight LX is reported to start "well under $18k", I think the car the Insight could do the most damage to sales-wise is the Civic. Then next, the Fit, which in base trim with AT is less than $2000 lower than the Insight LX.

    I do think some people will cross-shop both the Insight and Prius, just because they are looking for a hybrid hatchback that can seat at least 2 kids in back. I will probably shop both when I get our next long term car in 3-4 years. It remains to be seen whether that cross-shopping will happen in any numbers and if there will be any price pressure on the base price of the Prius because of it.
  • kdhspyder wrote: The Insight II is a Honda Fit with a $1500 hybrid option.

    This is not quite true. The Insight II is larger than the Fit by 11" in overall length and 2" in wheelbase. It has a completely different body also.

    The rear seat is where the Prius vs. Insight show the greatest difference in size with the Prius offering mid-size rear seat room and the Insight is clearly compact.

    I believe the Insight will bleed off significant Prius sales with it's $6K price advantage. Overall performance is similar and real world MPG will likely be very close.

    The areas the Prius beats the Insight is one level in size (only an issue if you regularly carry 3 people or more) and amenities (which for $6K in the 2009 economy is hard to justify).

    Honda has beaten Toyota in this new game. While Toyota's refinement will pay off with some buyers, I bet most will opt for the true value that this Honda offers.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Again these appeal to two different demographic segment. Frankly there are not that many $20000 buyers stepping up to a Prius @ $24000 - $26000 and certainly not at $29000. The very-frugal or just-starting-out buyers don't want to or can't spend $25K for any vehicle. So til now they've opted NOT to buy the Prius at all. This is the group that will embrace the Insight II.

    The current buyers of the Prius are an entirely different demographic with entirely different expectations. They expect to pay $25000 - $35000 or more for their vehicles and they are capable of doing that. Others like me are not interested in a compact vehicle at any price or fuel saving.

    The two will be cross-shopped but the differences will be clear shortly. Those who will naturally gravitate toward the Insigt II will do so and those want something more will gravitate toward the Prius. The Insight II is somewhat under the current Gen Prius but significantly behind the Gen 3 Prius.

    But since this is such a huge market there is room for both easily. As you note though the pricing differences in this current economy are significantly in Honda's favor. If everybody gets religion and damn the amenities then the Insight will shine even brighter.

    But then there's 2,3 and 5 yrs from now. Honda is limited by its technology ( for now ) to smaller more basic vehicles. It can't really scale it's IMA up to midsized vehicles very well. At some point in the near future the market will stabilize and return to a form of normalcy.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    I think you are fogetting that there are many new-car buyers who are looking for a reliable, quality car that provides room for 4, the utility of a hatchback, and high fuel economy. And they would like to spend as little as possible on that car--even more important in our current economic times. In the past, their choices were more limited. In fact, Prius was the ONLY hybrid option. Soon there will be two hybrid options. Either car could meet these requirements. But one will be significantly less expensive than the other, meaning the payback time will be much less.

    There are also buyers who need the extra rear legroom of the Prius or want some other feature only the Prius offers, e.g. its electronic gagetry. And they are willing to pay for it. They won't cross-shop the Insight. They may cross-shop the Camry Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid, if they can live with a sedan.

    As for the "huge market"... it isn't that huge. It was just over 300,000 vehicles for 2008, with the first half of 2008 being excellent for hybrids, with super-high gas prices and the economy not yet fully tanked. Now in 2009, the economy is really in the dumpster and gas prices remain low. Prius was over half of the hybrid market in 2008. Honda is shooting for 100,000 Insight sales per year. That's a lot of sales to absorb in a terrible market. I think many of those sales will be taken away from the Prius.
  • kdhspyder wrote: Others like me are not interested in a compact vehicle at any price or fuel saving.

    I agree with this statement but many use Hybrids as their 2nd car. Myself? The Insight is too small for me being a single owner of one vehicle. I would consider a Prius but can't justify $26-28K for the gain over a non-hybrid at $20-$22K.

    My brother-in-law however, planned to buy an '09 Prius and now is having second thoughts. The price advantage of the Insight is too great to ignore. With similar equipment levels we're talking about over $6K. That's a lot of money to all but the wealthiest people out there.

    Time will tell but Toyota is not nearly as well positioned with their product mix as they were just one year ago. They will fill that gap by 2011 with an entry level hydrid and a much improved Yaris. They are too good a company not to give the market what it wants.

    P.S. I believe we'll see a lot of HS250h's on the road by 2011 if they can keep under $35K loaded.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Here is a pretty fair write up by two Canadian writers when they were invited by Honda to test out the new Insight in Arizona.

    Canadian view of the Insight II

    Apparently from background ingo provided by Honda the Insight II is specifically targetting the younger demographic which might otherwise buy a conventional vehicle in the $15000 - $20000 range.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    And I'm sure many in that target demographic will take a look at it. Just as many outside the target demographic will buy one. Ever sell a Corolla to someone over 50 years old, even though they are not in the target demographic for the Corolla?

    Maybe what is needed is a Prius vs. Insight discussion.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    Do hybrid buyers even care about quality parts?

    Indeed, Honda has radically reduced the quality of materials in the new Insight. The interior cloth trim - seats, doors, etc. - is incredibly thin, the flimsiest such cloth seen in a Honda since an early '90s Civic.

    Ditto the roof liner, which gives new meaning to the term "rat's fur." The interior's plastics are not much better. Though the dashboard is reminiscent of the Civic's futuristic gauge display, its plastic surround is not nearly of such high quality.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    This has been my contention all along. The price of the Insight II controls what the content will be. In order to appeal to the pricing demographic at which it's targetted, the content has to be modified downward. No manufacturer can put a $25000 vehicle into an $18500 MSRP and expect to remain in business. To sell a vehicle with an MSRP of $18500 including a $1500 hybrid option the vehicle has to be a non-hybrid with a $17000 MSRP.

    Think of which vehicles today have a $17000 MSRP, the Aveo, the Yaris, the Fit and the Versa. These are all a class below the Cobalt, Focus, Corolla, Civic and Sentra in content, materials, performance, smoothness and quietness.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    The misconception is that a little car costs less to build than a big car. The difference in the cost of a fender for a big PU truck and a Corolla is probably just in the cost of the metal. Same labor and tooling cost. So to sell a Yaris for $12k as my son in law bought, something has to be eliminated. For those that have to have a hybrid and cannot afford more than $20k the Insight will probably be the ticket. I think I would rather have more plush and forgo the economy if I were to buy a sub $20k car. Of course that is unlikely.
  • ...smoothness and quietness.

    That is where Toyota will be 2 notches above the Insight. The Insight EX w/navi for $23K could hardly be considered "de-contented" as far as options go and the performance will be similar also.

    NVH and interior materials are a different story. Honda smells a victory here and will get with many buyers who aren't that picky (read under 30). Those willing to pay for refinement will stick with the Prius because it's clearly a lot more car - you just have to be willing to pay for it.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Nikkei today reporting that Toyota is going to keep the Gen 2 ( for how long ) and decontent it in order to lower the price to compete with the Insight.

    The new Gen 3 then will launch as planned with prices in the $25000 - $35000 range. Interesting but it makes sense in Toyota's marketing scheme. Today the Corolla covers the backside of the Camry and the Yaris covers the backside of the Corolla. Thus the Camry doesn't have to be discounted to fight every new player trying to buy into the market.

    The Gen 2 Prius if it kept in production for this weirdo year of 2009 would protect the backside of the Gen 3 being priced from $20000 - $25000.

    The gentlemanliness of the hybrid market is breaking down with the vehicle makers going after one another now... Insight vs Prius vs HCH...FFH vs TCH... Vue 2-Mode vs HH and FEH.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    The Gen 2 Prius if it kept in production for this weirdo year of 2009 would protect the backside of the Gen 3 being priced from $20000 - $25000.

    Using the Edmund's View Inventory feature, Noticed one dealer here has a 2009 Prius with MSRP of $19,314. I did not think they sold any under $20k.
  • Using the Edmund's View Inventory feature, Noticed one dealer here has a 2009 Prius with MSRP of $19,314. I did not think they sold any under $20k.

    By spring we should low-optioned '09 Prius' at $20K regularly. Toyota going the route kdhspyder suggested above makes this all but certain.

    If I can find a nicely equipped '09 Prius for $22K this summer - it's sold!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    If I can find a nicely equipped '09 Prius for $22K this summer - it's sold!

    If gas prices go up for any reason, I would not expect the current prices to stick. It would not surprise me to see the Feds and some states tack on 50 cents a gallon while prices are low. I don't anticipate lower prices than right now. If money loosens up they will also start selling causing the prices to rise. Unlike our domestic builders. Toyota will just shut down production till the current glut is sold.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    If I can find a nicely equipped '09 Prius for $22K this summer - it's sold!

    Since the 2010 Prius II will list for $22K you should be able to find a new one in your range.
This discussion has been closed.