Ang says the price premium is less important than feeling that he's doing something about climate change and dependence on overseas oil.
"We all make decisions not based on cost. We buy big houses, big SUVs, iPhones, iPads, not because they save us money. It's because they make us feel good," he said.
Toyota Motor Co.'s Prius hybrid cars were the runaway best-sellers last month. They made up 57 percent of all hybrids and electrics sold. The Prius C, an entry-level hybrid that is 19 inches shorter and $5,000 cheaper than the regular Prius, sold nearly 4,900 in March, its first month on the market.
"The success of the Prius C shows there is a strong appetite for a cheap, fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle," Caldwell said.
Toyota is selling two other versions of the Prius that it didn't have last March: the Prius V wagon and a plug-in version of the Prius that drives longer on battery power. Those added another 5,800 sales to Toyota's bottom line.
Mark Chasey, general manager of McEleney Toyota in Clinton, Iowa, said about half of the cars his dealership sells are hybrids. He could sell even more if they weren't in such tight supply. Toyota currently has a 17-day supply of Priuses, far less than the optimal 60 days.
Toyota also had the second best-selling hybrid last month, the Camry hybrid. After the Camry, the biggest selling hybrids were the Lexus CT and hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata and Buick LaCrosse.
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