2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery
Shortly after a huge earthquake shook Japan March 11th, most automakers on the island nation ceased operations. Yesterday, Toyota restarted limited production of the Prius, Lexus HS250h and CT 200h hybrids. Paul Nolasco, a spokesman for Toyota, couldn't confirm whether the automaker's supply chain had been restored or if Toyota secured other sources for scarce parts. Regardless, production is underway.
Jeff Liker, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan who researches Toyota, had this to say of automaker's recent actions:
This jives with Toyota's warnings that Prius availability, at least in the U.S., could be limited due to damage to a hybrid battery plant.They are clearly prioritizing Prius, given overseas demand. One of the constraints for Toyota's hybrids is the supply of batteries. One of three plants appears to be affected, so they may only have two-thirds of the battery supply capacity.