Toyota has announced that its plug-in Prius Hybrid was the best-selling plug-in in the U.K. for the year 2012, beating local favorite Vauxhall Ampera, the Euro version of GM’s Chevy Volt, in total sales for the calendar year. The company’s entire slate of hybrids, both plug-in and traditional, chalked up 12,840 sales in the U.K. during the past year, with the 76 mpg Auris the newest member of the lineup.
Prius has made such a splash in Europe; even the company’s commercials are record-breaking. The spot features voiceover from an Irish announcer, a nod to the car’s green credentials no doubt. Asking the timeless question, “Who am I?” the advert proceeds to answer the query with a series of confident, invigorating replies. The Prius is power, freedom, incredible fuel efficiency. “I am the original. I am uncompromised. I am 744 miles, non-stop.” If cars could talk, this is what the Prius would say, and it would be telling the truth. The commercial has a certain magical, attractive quality about it, whether you are a Prius enthusiast or not. For some reason, you might find yourself wanting to know the next single-word definition the speaker will use to describe the car.
For its part, Vauxhall Ampera is pulling out the stops in its marketing efforts to build an audience for the British cousin of the Chevy Volt. The 2012 winner of European Car of the Year, Vauxhall Ampera recently offered a 30-day “no questions asked” trial purchase. In the U.S., the plug-in hybrid rankings are inverted, with Volt on top and Prius second. A recent study by a British research organization concluded that the fastest way to build sales for hybrid and electric cars is by offering more of them as rental vehicles so that drivers can get used to the cars.