Toyota finally has some real hybrid competition with the new Honda Insight, but 2010 Prius orders show that the darling of the green movement is more than game in the battle for hybrid supremacy. The Japanese Nikkei Business Daily reports that Toyota already has 75,000 orders in the books; a number far greater than the 40,000 units the Japanese automaker expected. Toyota has already lowered the price of the Prius to combat the Insight's $19,180 price of entry, and early Insight sales figures show that is likely a wise move. Honda's newest hybrid sold 10,481 units in April, making it the first hybrid to ever top the Japanese sales chart.
The Prius' pre-sale success is a welcome bit of good news for Toyota. The automaker lost $7.7 billion last quarter, and the perennially successful operation expects to lose $8.6 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010. Toyota is also replacing 40% of its executive ranks as company scion Akio Toyoda takes over the company next month. The Prius goes on sale in Japan on May 18.