TOKYO ??” After nearly two years on sale, Toyota finds it still can't crank out enough versions of its smash hit Prius hybrid to go around. Production at the main plant building in Japan is set to double this summer, up to 120,000 units a year, according to a Japanese newspaper report.
Toyota now builds the Prius at two plants in Japan. Its Tsutsumi plant began production in 2003, then its Toyota Auto Body subsidiary joined in October 2004 to try to meet spiraling demand. It's the subsidiary that will double production from the current 60,000 annual units, the report says.
A Toyota spokesman in Tokyo wouldn't comment on the report but did confirm that the carmaker sold 175,000 Prius units worldwide in 2005. Globally, Toyota sold about 235,000 hybrids last year, with North America taking about 150,000 of those.
Clearly, with local Prius production now starting in China, too, the numbers on the Prius are going nowhere but up.
What this means to you: More production equals less waiting at the dealer for a new Prius. It's all good for increasingly fuel-conscious American buyers.