Prius, a ‘niche oddity’ when it was launched, now the third-best selling car in the world

priusToyota’s Prius, “a niche oddity when it went on sale 15 years ago, jumped to the world’s third best-selling car line in the first quarter as U.S. demand and incentives in Japan turned the hybrid into a mainstream hit,” according to a report on Bloomberg news.

“It proves Prius wasn’t a fluke, that there’s a long-term market for hybrids,” Eric Noble, president of the Car Lab, an automotive consultancy in Orange County, California, said in the Bloomberg report.

What does this mean for plug-in electrics? For one thing, proof that “there’s a long-term market for hybrids” suggests there will probably be a long-term market for plug-in electric vehicles, too.

But the bigger point is what it says about the doom-and-gloom we’re hearing these days from naysayers about the ’niche” role that vehicles like the Chevy Volt and Ford Focus EV are destined to, and about the battery manufacturers supplying them. They were wrong about the Prius then, and they will likely also be wrong about the future of electric vehicles today. Given some sound policy decisions and a fair shake from the media, these vehicles promise to be a key part of the future of the auto industry, providing steady jobs for Michigan workers and prosperity for our state for generations to come.