It may still have one of the highest mpgs on the market, but after 20 years in the U.S., the vaunted Toyota Prius may be running out of gas.
Once a leading symbol of environmental activism, the formerly ubiquitous egg-shaped hybrid has seen U.S. sales decline for seven consecutive years. It's suffering another sharp drop this year.
Though they won't declare it outright — Toyota rarely gives up on anything, let alone something it invented — executives look like they're starting to consider a North American lineup without a Prius in it, even as the automaker's pioneering hybrid technology continues to blossom under different Toyota and Lexus top hats.
The Prius "is viewed by consumers not only as our eco-leader, but also as a technology leader," said Bob Carter, head of sales for Toyota Motor North America, who says the company has "no plans to sunset" its pioneering hybrid.