When Toyota unveiled its new Japan-only hybrid model, the Sai, last month, it said it wanted to sell 36,000 of them each year, or 3,000 a month. The Sai, sort of a little cousin to the Lexus HS250h, costs about $37,000, but that relatively high price is apparently just right for 14,000 people. That's how many pre-orders Toyota says it has for the new hybrid, which goes on sale December 7. Maybe the $3,000+ in tax incentives had something to do with it. We don't expect sales each month will be quite that high, but Toyota must be celebrating this bit of good news (or congratulating themselves on keeping expectations low).
Apparently, the roughly $6,000 difference between the Sai and the Lexus was convincing to people it's a solid deal for what's almost the same car. The Sai is a step up from the Prius (the Sai is bigger and has a more powerful engine), especially in price: the Prius starts at around $22,000. The Sai is rated at around 54 mpg (U.S.) on the optimistic Japanese cycle.