Toyota Prius: Premium, Popular, Pricey
The Good: No. 1 in fuel efficiency, distinctive looks
The Bad: Premium price vs. conventional compacts, no federal tax credit, tight supplies
The Bottom Line: Its economics are problematic, but just try to get your hands on one!
With Americans suddenly reacting strongly to soaring gasoline prices, four Japanese cars outsold Ford's (F) fuel-thirsty F-Series pickup truck for the first time ever in May: the Toyota Camry and new 2009 Corolla, and Honda's (HMC) Civic and recently redesigned Accord. Yet, oddly, the most fuel-efficient model on the market, the hybrid-powered Toyota Prius, saw its sales plunge 39.8% in May, to just 15,011 units. Prius sales are up a mere 2.2%, to 79,675, so far this year.
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