Toyota will increase the production rate of its new compact version of its Prius hybrid in order to meet Japanese demand that may be 10 times that of its current supply, Green Car Congress reports, citing the Japan-based publication Nikkei.

The world's biggest maker of hybrids will increase production capacity for the Aqua – known as the Prius C in the U.S. – within the next three months, the website said, citing a Nikkei interview with Toyota Senior Managing Officer Takeshi Shirane. The executive said that Toyota may produce the Aqua at Central Motor's factory in Miyagi Prefecture. Central Motor is one of three companies being merged into Toyota Motor East Japan Inc. this summer.

Earlier this month, Hybrid Cars, again citing the Nikkei, reported that Toyota received about 120,000 orders for the Aqua from Dec. 26 - 31, the first days the car was available to the Japanese public. Toyota, which targeted sales of 12,000 Aquas a month, had already gotten about 60,000 pre-orders for the model. Toyota recently told us it has capacity to make 30,000 Prius C hybrids a month.

Last week, Toyota said its base-priced Prius C will be $18,950, though with its destination charges and other options, fully-loaded versions can cost more than $23,000. Toyota estimates that the car, which goes on sale next month, will get 50 miles per gallon combined (53 city/46 highway), making it the most fuel-efficient non plug-in sold in the U.S. Toyota, whose standard Prius gets 50 mpg (51 city/48 highway) combined, recently started selling the Prius V wagon and will introduce a plug-in hybrid Prius later this year.


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  • 20 Comments
      sirvixisvexed
      • 3 Years Ago
      IMO the Prius C is going to be a record setter for slowest depreciation in value
      NightFlight
      • 3 Years Ago
      When will GM build a simple hybrid to compete?
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota has once again been rewarded for it's courage and tenacity for introducing mass selling Hybrids. The Prius C is a 'coming of age' car. The car buying public have voted with their chequebooks, and Toyota is a deserved winner!
      marcsf
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota is quite conservative most of the time. They also woefully underestimated the appeal of Gen 2 Prius when it debuted. They were set to sell 35,000 a year in the US. We all know how that turned out. Look at the flack they got when they predicted 200,000 sales for the Gen 2 Tundra in its first year. They missed it by just a couple thousand, but they were raked over the coals for it. I don't see them making that mistake again.
      Robyn
      • 3 Years Ago
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      theflew
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does anyone else get an Apple feel by this announcement? Announce high demand, then increase manufacturing to try to meet demand. One would argue why put such a low target for output. Unlike the Leaf and Volt there is nothing special about this car. It's a smaller Prius with last generation tech in it. Increasing production of this car is no different than increasing production of a Camry. Even the pack is smaller. In Japan this car makes a lot of sense. But I think it might struggle in the US. There are a lot of small cars that get good, not great gas mileage that are funnier to drive and provide more room.
        Dave R
        • 3 Years Ago
        @theflew
        I think it will sell just fine in the US. It's about 10-20% cheaper than the similarly priced Liftback. It's extremely fuel efficient - early reviews show that it easily exceeds 50 mpg when driven carefully. And it's in a very usable and appealing package. Compare this to the Honda Insight which has less usable space inside, is bigger outside, and is less fuel efficient to boot. This car will kill Honda Insight sales. And probably a decent number of CR-Z sales, too. And there's a ton of cars sold in this price range who will probably jump ship for a real 50 mpg car - all the other compacts are more like ~30 mpg in real life and only get 40 mpg when driven gingerly on the highway. I think Toyota has hit it out of the park here and huge pre-sales numbers confirm it.
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave R
          First, the Insight is a nice car to drive, actually. Sporty handling, and excellent braking, and it get's at least the EPA numbers. But, if the temp is above 50 F you can get 5+ more mpg. On the highway it get's 48+ at 65 mph. But, yes, Toyota looks like they're setting up for an Insight Killer. That 50+ mpg in the city is a deadly number. The Insight with NAV can be $5000 cheaper then a Prius with NAV, and yet, still not generate sales. For a hybrid being 10 mpg lower then the competition seems a Death Sentence. Honda is going to have to do a cross-licence deal with Toyota and upgrade their hybrid systems. Actually, no, they're just going to jump to straight EV's. The Fit EV soon. And the Sportster EV in a few years.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @theflew
        I suppose that the simple explanation that Toyota were caught by surprise by the high demand is no good for you? Why assume the obvious, when there is a good conspiracy theory laying about unused?
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          You are talking about one of the most conservative companies in the world. That attitude always reaches all parts of the organisation. So if the guys who did the projection overestimated sales, their name would be mud, Underestimating it simply shows their bosses that they are properly cautious.
          theflew
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          I would agree if this was Tesla that they could be surprised. Do you really think they had no idea the appeal of such a car? This isn't their first car and they have data on how the Prius is selling. They know what people are trading for a Prius. And they also no what sells they are losing to their smaller cars when someone walks in looking at a Prius and buys a Yaris. There is no conspiracy theory, just I feel more propaganda where none is necessary. You have to admit having a headline saying demand far outstrips supple grabs headlines. Now a headline that states it's increasing supple makes it seem like I need to jump in line before they run out again. What other company that's named after a fruit does the same thing.
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @theflew
        ROFL Thanks DaveMart. You saved me from having to type it.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      I suspect the Japanese electricity crisis has caused people to think about cutting back on oil as well. Why not be more efficient and save money?
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does anyone know whether it uses a NiMH pack or a Li pack?
        DRstrangelove
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        NIMH
          Sasparilla Fizz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DRstrangelove
          Thanks DRstrangelove, good news - the battery should last the life of the vehicle because of that.
        Dave R
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        NiMH. Lithium is apparently still too expensive and reliability unproven for Toyota. They are only using Lithium where space/weight is absolutely critical in the PHEV. Panasonic NiMH has served Toyota very well in it's last 10 years.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave R
          You have to distinguish between different lithium technologies for durability. Hyundai rate their lithium polymer in the Sonata hybrid at 300,000 miles for a 10% loss in capacity. As far as Toyota and NiMH goes though, for hybrids where the weight is manageable, if it ain't broke, why fix it?
          Sasparilla Fizz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave R
          Thanks Dave, I'm glad to hear this. I'd actually prefer NiMH for a Hybrid anyways, when used properly it'll last the life of the car - Li is not there yet on capacity durability.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave R
          Toyota and their supplier Panasonic are a bit behind the curve on Nissan in car batteries, not 18650, and so their costs are likely a bit higher. They seem to agree with Peugeot that it is costing they ~10% more for lithium per kwh than NiMH.
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