So far, Japanese demand for the new Toyota 2010 Prius, the 3rd generation of the Prius hybrid, is greatly exceeding Toyota’s expectations. Toyota had set a sales goal of 100,000 cars in Japan by December – right now it looks like they’re going to meet that goal this summer. With so much initial demand, Toyota originally thought that they would cut US deliveries until they could catch up on production, but now Toyota has increased production at both its Prius facilities in order to bring annual production up from 400,000 to 500,000 cars. The new Prius goes on sale here in the US in early summer.
There’s been some talk in the press about how now that the cost of gasoline has dropped so much from last year (although its now on its way back up), hybrid sales in the US have been in the tank. They point to the drop in Prius sales as the example. But I think they don’t realize is that most people who have been interested in buying a new Prius (me included) have decided to wait until the 2010 models come out. After all, why would you buy a 2009 Prius when the 2010 models get better mpg, have more power and interior space, and cost the same?