Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) is reducing the price of its plug-in Prius models to try to boost sales and meet a California mandate as automakers find that cost is critical to U.S. consumers’ willingness to buy rechargeable autos.
The world’s largest seller of hybrid autos is trimming the base price of the 2014 Prius Plug-in to $29,990, a $2,010 reduction from the current car, while the top-end Advanced grade gets a 12 percent cut to $34,905, Toyota said in a statement yesterday. The new versions, which also get a $2,500 U.S. tax credit, go on sale next month.
The company in August began offering reduced lease and loan deals for its battery-powered RAV4 crossover to spur its sales. Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and General Motors Co. (GM) have all turned to discounted leases, price cuts or both for rechargeable models.
Toyota is under particular pressure to sell as many plug-in hybrids and battery-only vehicles as possible in California to comply with the state’s Zero-Emission Vehicle program. The Toyota City, Japan-based company has the biggest share of auto sales in the state and as a result must sell the most low-polluting models.