When we last asked Toyota representatives about the production capacity of the 2012 Prius C, we were told the company's Iwate, Japan plant could make up to 30,000 units each month. That sounds like a lot, but Toyota is currently sending just 20 percent – 6,000 a month – to the United States.
Back in December, when the car went on sale in Japan, the company received 120,000 orders in the first five days it was on sale. As we noted last week, Toyota also sold 1,200 Prius C units in the first three days it was on sale in the States. The baby Prius may not be as popular here as it is at home, but 6,000 a month sure doesn't seem like it's enough.
The C is made at just one plant, run by Toyota's Kanto Auto Works Ltd. affiliate in northern Japan. A strong yen and all those Japanese orders means that the C models that do get made are mostly delivered to the home country instead of be placed on a boat to be exported. Toyota originally planned to produce just 20,000 C models a month, and is now looking at how to go over even the 30,000-unit level.
By increasing efficiencies at the plant and moving production of non-Prius C models (specifically, the not-available-in-the-U.S. Toyota Ractis) from Iwate to other plants, the unspecified increase should be in place by the middle of 2012. Thus far, there is no official talk about making the C at other plants.