In March, we heard that, because of production delays as a result of the March 11 earthquake in Japan, Toyota was looking at delays for the new Prius V and Prius + models set to go on sale in North America and Europe, respectively. The Detroit News is reporting that those delays could last as long as a year for some buyers due to battery pack shortages.
Despite the production problems, Toyota still launched the the larger Prius variant in Tokyo. But the lack of batteries means that the automaker can only build 1,000 of the three-row models with the lithium ion battery pack per month, and another 2,000 models with the nickel-metal hydride battery pack. That doesn't quite jive with the automaker's 18,000 orders for the nickel-metal hydride-equipped five-seater or the 7,000 orders for the pricier three-row model. And that's just the orders for the up-sized Prius in Japan. The automaker intends to sell about 2,000 units per month each in North America and Europe as well.
In the big picture, Toyota has at least launched the new Prius, and new models should begin trickling in over the next few months. The Prius + won't be offered in Europe until mid-2012, and it won't be available in the U.S. at all.