Prius sales tank in May, Toyota blames battery supply

This stat might seem confusing given the fact that fuel economy is king at dealerships right now, but Toyota just reported that Prius sales were down almost 40% in May compared to the same period in 2007. While overall 2008 sales of the hybrid postercar are up a little over 2%, this just doesn't seem possible. Just over 15,000 Priuses were sold in May '08 compared to more than 24,000 in 2007. Overall sales in 2008 have slightly surpassed '07 sales through May, with a total of 79,675 units moved this year compared to 76,747 last year, but it seems like something is amiss. Then you read about a battery supply problem that's affected production of the Prius and it all starts to make sense. AutoblogGreen reports that Toyota's VP of Communications, Irv Miller, said batteries are in short supply worldwide and this is what affected Prius production and its sales last month in the U.S. He added that last year's figures were slightly inflated due to, wait for it, incentives being used to move slow-selling hybrids. Ah, the good old days. While there is still an obvious demand for the Prius, our brothers at ABG surmise we'll be on a one-day supply of Priuses until the new one comes out in January. Can you say mark up?

[Source: AutoblogGreen and Toyota]

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